Background: Compared with ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) offers superior visualization of the fetal brain. It confirms and characterizes brain abnormalities detected by prenatal ultrasound, particularly in late pregnancy when acoustic windows are difficult or fetal position is inaccessible. Prior to July 2008, only two studies were attempted at our institution as local technical expertise was unavailable. Following collaboration with a neuroradiologist at an expert centre, images of sufficient quality for diagnosis were obtained.
Objective: The study objective is to evaluate the initial experience with fetal brain MRI and its effects on patient counselling and management in a resource limited healthcare system.
Method: In seven fetuses with abnormal ultrasound neuroimaging, fetal MRI was performed with T2- weighted single-shot fast spin-echo (SSFSE) sequences using a 1.5T magnet (GE Medical Systems, Milwaukee, WI).
Results: Magnetic resonance imaging did not alter ultrasound diagnosis in two patients (28%); however, it changed the diagnosis in three (43%), provided additional information in one (14%) and changed management in two (28%) patients.
Conclusion: Magnetic resonance imaging availability further elucidated brain pathology, aided patient counselling, parental decision-making and multidisciplinary management.