Thursday, August 3, 2017

3-D MRI can predict fetal growth retardation using in utero placental shape and textural features


Fetal Growth Retardation(FGR) and Birth Weight(BW) can be predicted with reasonable accuracy using in utero placental shape, volume, dimensions and textural features during pregnancy based on computed 3D MR images says study results published online July 22 in Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

A team of Children's National Health System research scientists recently investigated the ability of predicting FGR and BV by studying placental morphometry.

The researchers looked at two groups of women between 18 to 39 weeks of gestation; 46 women carried healthy fetus while 34 women had FGR, defined by estimated fetal weight that fell below the 10th percentile for gestational age.

Fetal MR imaging was done on a 1.5 Tesla GE scanner using an eight-channel receiver coil acquiring 124 T2-weighted images on either the coronal or the axial plane to obtain MR volumes with a slice thickness of either 4 or 8 mm covering the full placenta.

Machine learning framework using shape and textural feature was able to identify FGR pregnancies with 86 % accuracy and 86% percent sensitivity. The BW calculation for both the group was also reasonably accurate.

Catherine Limperopoulos, Ph.D., co-director of research in the Division of Neonatology at Children's National Health System and senior author of the study says "We are helping to pioneer a very new frontier in fetal medicine. Other studies have developed prediction tools based on fetal brain features in utero. To our knowledge, this would be the first proposed framework for semi-automated diagnosis of FGR and estimation of birth weight using structural MRI images of the placental architecture in vivo. This has the potential to address a sizable clinical gap since we lack methods that are both sufficiently sensitive and specific to reliably detect FGR in utero."

"Identifying early biomarkers of placental disease that may impair fetal growth and well-being open up brand-new opportunities to intervene to protect vulnerable fetuses," she further added.

The researchers write that this first of a kind study of mapping the placenta to develop a framework to predict FGR and BW needs further validation by future studies involving large number of patients.

Primary Source: Dahdouh, S., Andescavage, N., Yewale, S., Yarish, A., Lanham, D., Bulas, D., du Plessis, A. J. and Limperopoulos, C. (2017), In vivo placental MRI shape and textural features predict fetal growth restriction and postnatal outcome. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging. doi:10.1002/jmri.25806

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