Does 3-T fetal MRI induce adverse acoustic effects in the neonate? A preliminary study comparing postnatal auditory test performance of fetuses scanned at 1.5 and 3 T
Fetal MRI at 3 T is associated with increased acoustic noise relative to 1.5 T.
The goal of this study is to determine if there is an increased prevalence of congenital hearing loss in neonates who had a 3-T prenatal MR vs. those who had it at 1.5 T.
Materials and methods
We retrospectively identified all subjects who had 3-T fetal MRI between 2012 and 2016 and also underwent universal neonatal hearing screening within 60 days of birth. Fetuses with incomplete hearing screening, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies at both field strengths or fetuses affected by conditions associated with hearing loss were excluded. A random group of controls scanned at 1.5 T was identified. Five subjects had repeat same-strength MRIs (one at 3 T and four at 1.5 T). The pass/fail rate of the transient otoacoustic emissions test and auditory brainstem response test were compared using the Fisher exact test. A logistic regression was performed to assess the effects of other known risk factors for congenital hearing loss.
Three hundred forty fetal MRI examinations were performed at 3 T, of which 62 met inclusion criteria. A control population of 1.5-T fetal MRI patients was created using the same exclusion criteria, with 62 patients randomly selected from the eligible population. The fail rates of transient otoacoustic emissions test for the 1.5-T and 3-T groups were 9.7% and 6.5%, respectively, and for the auditory brainstem response test were 3.2% and 1.6%, respectively. There was no significant difference in the fail rate of either test between groups (P=0.74 for transient otoacoustic emissions test, and P=0.8 for auditory brainstem response test). The median gestational age of the 3-T group was 30 weeks, 1 day, significantly higher (P<0.001) than the 1.5-T group (median gestational age: 20 weeks, 2 days).
Our findings suggest that the increase in noise associated with 3 T does not increase the rate of clinically detectable hearing abnormalities.
KeywordsAcoustic effects 3-Tesla Fetus Hearing test Magnetic resonance imaging Newborn Safety
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflicts of interest
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