Specific Absorption Rate and Specific Energy Dose: Comparison of 1.5-T versus 3.0-T Fetal MRI

Radiology. 2020 Jun;295(3):664-674. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2020191550. Epub 2020 Apr 7.


Background MRI performed at 3.0 T offers greater signal-to-noise ratio and better spatial resolution than does MRI performed at 1.5 T; however, for fetal MRI, there are concerns about the potential for greater radiofrequency energy administered to the fetus at 3.0-T MRI. Purpose To compare the specific absorption rate (SAR) and specific energy dose (SED) of fetal MRI at 1.5 and 3.0 T. Materials and Methods In this retrospective study, all fetal MRI examinations performed with 1.5- and 3.0-T scanners at one institution between July 2012 and October 2016 were evaluated. Two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) steady-state free precession (SSFP), single-shot fast spin-echo, 2D and 3D T1-weighted spoiled gradient-echo (SPGR), and echo-planar imaging sequences were performed. SAR, SED, accumulated SED, and acquisition time were retrieved from the Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine header. Data are presented as mean ± standard deviation. Two one-sided tests with equivalence bounds of 0.5 (Cohen d effect size) were performed, with statistical equivalence considered at P < .05. Results A total of 2952 pregnant women were evaluated. Mean maternal age was 30 years ± 6 (age range, 12-49 years), mean gestational age was 24 weeks ± 6 (range, 17-40 weeks). A total of 3247 fetal MRI scans were included, with 2784 (86%) obtained at 1.5 T and 463 (14%) obtained at 3.0 T. In total, 93 764 sequences were performed, with 81 535 (87%) performed at 1.5 T and 12 229 (13%) performed at 3.0 T. When comparing 1.5- with 3.0-T MRI sequences, mean SAR (1.09 W/kg ± 0.69 vs 1.14 W/kg ± 0.61), mean SED (33 J/kg ± 27 vs 38 J/kg ± 26), and mean accumulated SED (965 J/kg ± 408 vs 996 J/kg ± 366, P < .001) were equivalent. Conclusion Fetal 1.5- and 3.0-T MRI examinations were found to have equivalent energy metrics in most cases. The 3.0-T sequences, such as two-dimensional T1-weighted spoiled gradient-echo and three-dimensional steady-state free precession, may require modification to keep the energy delivered to the patient as low as possible. © RSNA, 2020 Online supplemental material is available for this article.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Female
  • Fetus / diagnostic imaging*
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / methods*
  • Signal-To-Noise Ratio
  • Young Adult