Background and purpose: Fetal postmortem MR Imaging (pmMRI) has been recently used as an adjuvant tool to conventional brain autopsy after termination of pregnancy (TOP). Our purpose was to compare the diagnostic performance of intrauterine MRI (iuMRI) and pmMRI in the detection of brain anomalies in fetuses at early gestational age (GA). Material and methods: We retrospectively collected 53 fetuses who had undergone iuMRI and pmMRI for suspected brain anomalies. Two pediatric neuroradiologists reviewed iuMRI and pmMRI examinations separately and then together. We used Cohen’s K to assess the agreement between pmMRI and iuMRI. Using the combined evaluation iuMRI+pMRI as the reference standard, we calculated the “correctness ratio.” We used Somers’ D to assess the cograduation between postmortem image quality and time elapsed after fetus expulsion. Results: Our data showed high agreement between iuMRI and pmMRI considering all the categories together, for both observers (K1 0.84; K2 0.86). The correctness ratio of iuMRI and pmMRI was 79% and 45% respectively. The major disagreements between iuMRI and pmMRI were related to postmortem changes as the collapse of liquoral structures and distorting phenomena. We also found a significant cograduation between the time elapsed from expulsion and pmMRI contrast resolution and distortive phenomena (both p < 0.001). Conclusions: Our study demonstrates an overall high concordance between iuMRI and pmMRI in detecting fetal brain abnormalities at early GA. Nevertheless, for the correct interpretation of pmMRI, the revision of fetal examination seems to be crucial, in particular when time elapsed from expulsion is longer than 24 h. Key Points: • IuMRI and pmMRI showed overall high concordance in detecting fetal brain abnormalities at early GA. • PmMRI corroborated the antemortem diagnosis and it could be a valid alternative to conventional brain autopsy, only when the latter cannot be performed. • Some caution should be taken in interpreting pmMR images when performed after 24 h from fetal death.
- Magnetic resonance imaging
- Termination of pregnancy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging