Fetal organ weight estimation by postmortem high-field magnetic resonance imaging before 20 weeks' gestationFetal organ weight estimation by postmortem high-field magnetic resonance imaging before 20 weeks' gestation
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences . Biomedical Sciences
Research group
Bio-Imaging lab
Publication type
Park Ridge, N.J.,
Human medicine
Computer. Automation
Source (journal)
Ultrasound in obstetrics and gynecology. - Park Ridge, N.J.
39(2012):6, p. 673-678
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
University of Antwerp
Objective To ascertain whether high-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allows accurate estimation of the weight of various fetal organs at postmortem before 20 weeks' gestation. Methods From 23 fetuses at 920 weeks, following termination of pregnancy or in-utero fetal death (IUFD), 207 assorted fetal organs were evaluated by high-field MRI at 9.4 T prior to conventional autopsy. Fetal organ density was calculated by correlating volume and weight at autopsy using linear regression analysis, and this was used to estimate fetal organ weight by MRI. The relative error in MRI estimation of organ weight was calculated as follows: (|MRI weight - autopsy weight|/autopsy weight) x 100 (%). Multiple regression analysis was used to investigate the effect on the relative error of MRI organ weight estimates of gestational age at TOP or delivery following IUFD, autopsy weight, fetal organ examined, IUFD and fetal maceration. Results Of the 207 organs evaluated, 133 (64%) were examined for fetal organ density and 155 (75%) for fetal organ weight. Fifty-two organs were excluded from our analysis; 41 of these were from fetuses with IUFD, with 39 organs macerated. In 32 cases, exclusion was due to an inability to assess the organ both on MRI and on conventional autopsy. Volume and weight at autopsy correlated significantly, following the linear equation: autopsy volume = (0.9947 x autopsy weight) - 4.7556, where autopsy volume is in mm3 and weight is in mg (r = 0.99, P < 0.001). Overall the mean relative error in the MRI estimation of organ weight was 68%. Multiple regression analysis showed that the relative error in the MRI estimation of organ weight was significantly associated with gestational age at TOP or delivery following IUFD and fetal maceration, but not with autopsy weight, fetal organ examined or IUFD. In the subgroup of non-macerated organs and for fetuses above 14 weeks' gestation, the mean relative error in the MRI estimation of organ weight was 34%. Conclusion In fetuses before 20 weeks' gestation, noninvasive estimation of organ weight is feasible using high-field MRI, but there is a mean overestimation. Limitations of the technique occur mainly in cases of small macerated fetuses before 14 weeks' gestation. Copyright (C) 2012 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.