Fetal MRI pp 247-258 | Cite as

MRI of the Fetal Heart

Part of the Medical Radiology book series (MEDRAD)


Visualization of the fetal heart with MRI is complicated because of the small size of the fetal heart and the high heart rate of app­roximately 140 beats per minute. While con­ventional T2-weighted sequences only allow assessment of its size and position, steady-state free-precession sequences are currently the best way to image the fetal heart. The anatomical detail that can be depicted depends on fetal size and on section plane. However, as cardiac triggering is not possible in the fetal setting, the images are taken at random points in the fetal cardiac cycle. This leads to blurring and prevents exact visualization of the thin moving parts, such as the cusps and valves. This may be partly overcome by using dynamic sequences. While a variety of fetal cardiac malformations, especially those associated with cardiomegaly, can also be detected with MRI, its additional value in evaluating fetal cardiac pathologies remains to be determined.


Left Atrium Inferior Vena Fetal Heart Interventricular Septum Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Integrative Morphology Group, Center for Anatomy and Cell BiologyMedical University of ViennaViennaAustria

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