The technologies and research in the areas of fetal imaging focus on modalities such as (MRI). The tests are safe for pregnant women, their unborn babies and newborns with MR imaging that uses no ionizing radiation. This enables diagnosis and treatment of many disorders that were previously undetectable or worsened by delayed intervention.. Fetal MRI is usually performed when ultrasound is inconclusive or further information is required that may change the management of the pregnancy.
A recent article, which appears in the October issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology, presents a modified technique developed at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center that uses the eyes as the line of reference, resulting in 50 % reduction in the time necessary to take MRI images of the fetal brain.
According to Keyanoosh Hosseinzadeh, MD, Chief of Body MRI at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and lead author of the study, one of the challenges of imaging the fetal head is that the fetus can move during the study, making it difficult to obtain the required imaging views, especially when study time is prolonged. However, by drawing a line of reference through the eyes, and performing subsequent imaging along that plane, the three imaging planes required can be rapidly acquired.
This technique avoids the need of taking unnecessary images, whereas in the past, it took several attempts to obtain the diagnostic images needed. Also, the total examination time, using the modified technique is now about 12 minutes, which is nearly half the time as compared to the standard technique. The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted a provisional patent for the technique.