Assessment of lung development in isolated congenital diaphragmatic hernia using signal intensity ratios on fetal MR imaging
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To investigate developmental changes in the apparently unaffected contralateral lung by using signal intensity ratios (SIR) and lung volumes (LV), and to search for correlation with clinical outcome.
Twenty-five fetuses (22–37 weeks’ gestation) were examined. Lung/liver signal intensity ratios (LLSIR) were assessed on T1-weighted and T2-weighted sequences for both lungs, then together with LV compared with age-matched controls of 91 fetuses by using the U test. Differences in LLSIRs and lung volumes were correlated with neonatal outcomes.
LLSIRs in fetuses with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) were significantly higher in both lungs on T1-weighted images and significantly lower on T2-weighted images, compared with normals (p < 0.05), increasing on T2-weighted imaging and decreasing on T1-weighted imaging during gestation. Total LV were significantly smaller in the CDH group than in controls (p < 0.05). No significant differences in LLSIR of the two lungs were found. Outcomes correlated significantly with total LV, but not with LLSIR.
Changes in LLSIR seem to reflect developmental impairment in CDH; however, they provide no additional information in predicting outcome. LV remains the best indicator on fetal MR imaging of neonatal survival in isolated, left-sided CDH.
KeywordsFetal MR imaging Signal intensities Congenital diaphragmatic hernia Fetal lung Structural changes
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