Skip to main content

Utilization of 3-T fetal magnetic resonance imaging in clinical practice: a single-institution experience

Abstract

Background

As the safety and efficacy of fetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 3 tesla (T) continues to evolve, understanding its potential benefits and limitations is becoming increasingly important.

Objective

We aim to compare the image quality of fetal MRI between 1.5 T and 3 T in routine clinical practice.

Materials and methods

Fetal MRIs performed at 3 T between Jan. 1, 2019, and Dec. 31, 2019, at our institution were retrospectively reviewed by four fellowship-trained subspecialty radiologists. Imaging quality by system, sequence and artifacts were compared with matched controls at 1.5 T and rated using a modified Likert scale.

Results

Thirty-three fetal MRIs at 3 T were reviewed, and a control group of studies for the same clinical indication and equivalent gestational age were selected for comparison. Two of the four radiologists preferred 3-T image quality of the brain with slight agreement among the four reviewers (k=0.19, P=0.01). Three of the four radiologists had no preference for 1.5 T vs. 3 T in the majority of cases in evaluating the chest and abdomen. In the overall assessment, 3 T was preferred in less than half of cases by all four radiologists (k=0.07, P=0.26). In the evaluation of standing wave, moire fringe and magnetic susceptibility artifacts, 3 T was not preferred in the majority of studies by all four radiologists. Total exam time was significantly longer in the 3-T fetal MRIs (75.0±15.1 min) compared to the 1.5-T fetal MRIs (55.5±13.3 min, P<0.001).

Conclusion

While 3 T is a feasible alternative to 1.5 T for fetal MRI, the increased artifacts and longer exam times observed at 3 T without clear improvement in overall image quality make 1.5 T preferable for fetal MRI in routine clinical practice.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7

References

  1. 1.

    Levine D (2006) Obstetric MRI. J Magn Reson Imaging 24:1–15

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Reddy UM, Filly RA, Copel JA (2008) Prenatal imaging: ultrasonography and magnetic resonance imaging. Obstet Gynecol 112:145–157

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Shellock FG, Crues JV (2004) MR procedures: biologic effects, safety, and patient care. Radiology 232:635–652

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Barrera CA, Francavilla ML, Serai SD et al (2020) Specific absorption rate and specific energy dose: comparison of 1.5-T versus 3.0-T fetal MRI. Radiology 295:664–674

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Chartier AL, Bouvier MJ, McPherson DR et al (2019) The safety of maternal and fetal MRI at 3 T. AJR Am J Roentgenol 213:1170–1173

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Jaimes C, Delgado J, Cunnane MB et al (2019) 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. Pediatr Radiol 49:37–45

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Chapman T, Alazraki AL, Eklund MJ (2018) A survey of pediatric diagnostic radiologists in North America: current practices in fetal magnetic resonance imaging. Pediatr Radiol 48:1924–1935

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Merkle EM, Dale BM, Paulson EK (2006) Abdominal MR imaging at 3T. Magn Reson Imaging Clin N Am 14:17–26

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Weisstanner C, Gruber GM, Brugger PC et al (2017) Fetal MRI at 3T — ready for routine use? Br J Radiol 90:20160362

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Huang SY, Seethamraju RT, Patel P et al (2015) Body MR imaging: artifacts, k-space and solutions. Radiographics 35:1439–1460

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Merkle EM, Dale BM (2006) Abdominal MRI at 3.0 T: the basic revisited. AJR Am J Roentgenol 186:1524–1532

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Chang KJ, Kamel IR, Macura KJ, Bluemke DA (2008) 3.0-T MR imaging of the abdomen: comparison with 1.5 T. Radiographics 28:1983–1998

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Schmitz BL, Aschoff AJ, Hoffmann MHK, Grön G (2005) Advantages and pitfalls in 3T MR brain imaging: a pictorial review. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol 26:2229–2237

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Priego G, Barrowman NJ, Hurteau-Miller J, Miller E (2017) Does 3T fetal MRI improve image resolution of normal brain structures between 20 and 24 weeks’ gestational age? AJNR Am J Neuroradiol 38:1636–1642

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Bernstein MA, Huston J 3rd, Ward HA (2006) Imaging artifacts at 3.0T. J Magn Reson Imaging 24:735–746

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Victoria T, Jaramillo D, Roberts TPL et al (2014) Fetal magnetic resonance imaging: jumping from 1.5 to 3 tesla (preliminary experience). Pediatr Radiol 44:376–386

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Victoria T, Johnson AM, Christopher Edgar J et al (2016) Comparison between 1.5-T and 3-T MRI for fetal imaging: is there an advantage to imaging with a higher field strength? AJR Am J Roentgenol 206:195–201

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    da Silva NA Jr, Vassallo J, Sarian LO et al (2018) Magnetic resonance imaging of the fetal brain at 3 tesla. Medicine (Baltimore) 97:e12602

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Usha D. Nagaraj.

Ethics declarations

Conflicts of interest

None

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Supplementary Information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Nagaraj, U.D., Calvo-Garcia, M.A., Merrow, A.C. et al. Utilization of 3-T fetal magnetic resonance imaging in clinical practice: a single-institution experience. Pediatr Radiol 51, 1798–1808 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00247-021-05087-8

Download citation

Keywords

  • 3 T
  • Body
  • Brain
  • Exam time
  • Fetus
  • Image quality
  • Magnetic resonance imaging