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Radiol Med. 2008 Mar;113(2):225-41. doi: 10.1007/s11547-008-0242-0. Epub 2008 Apr 2.

Magnetic resonance imaging versus ultrasonography in fetal pathology.

[Article in English, Italian]

Author information

  • 1Dipartimento di Scienze Radiologiche, Universit√† degli studi di Roma La Sapienza, Via Regina Elena 324, Rome, Italy.



This paper describes our experience with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the assessment of fetal anatomical structures and major fetal pathologies.


The retrospective study included 128 pregnant women between the 22nd and 38th week of gestation. We used the following imaging protocol: T2-weighted single-shot fast spin-echo sequences for all foetuses and, in selected cases, gradient echo with steady-state free precession (SSFP), T1-weighted spoiled gradient echo [fast low-angle shot (FLASH)] with and without fat saturation, and T2 thick-slab sequences with multiplanar technique. In 32 cases, we performed diffusion-weighted sequences with apparent diffusion coefficient (ACD) maps on the brain, the kidneys and the lungs.


We achieved diagnostic-quality images in 125 of 128 patients; MR image quality was unsatisfactory in three cases only. In 16 cases with previous negative ultrasound (US) findings, MRI confirmed the US diagnosis. MRI confirmed the positive US diagnosis in 67 of 109 cases (61.5%); in 11 cases it changed the US diagnosis, and in 31/109 the examination was negative. In addition, MRI identified other anomalies not recognised during US examination.


With its ultrafast sequences, fetal MRI provides good detail of normal fetal anatomy and allows characterisation of suspected anomalies.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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