T2* weighted fetal MRI and the correlation with placental dysfunction

Kirstine Baadsgaard*, Ditte N. Hansen, David A. Peters, Jens B. Frøkjær, Marianne Sinding, Anne Sørensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
37 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: Transverse relaxation time (T2*) is related to tissue oxygenation and morphology. We aimed to describe T2* weighted MRI in selected fetal organs in normal pregnancies, and to investigate the correlation between fetal organ T2* and placental T2*, birthweight (BW) deviation, and redistribution of fetal blood flow. Methods: T2*-weighted MRI was performed in 126 singleton pregnancies between 23+6- and 41+3-weeks’ gestation. The T2* value was obtained from the placenta and fetal organs (brain, lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, and spleen). In normal BW pregnancies (BW > 10th centile), the correlation between the T2* value and gestational age (GA) at MRI was estimated by linear regression. The correlation between fetal organ Z-score and BW group was demonstrated by boxplots and investigated by analysis of variance (ANOVA) for each organ. Results: In normal BW pregnancies fetal organ T2* was negatively correlated with GA. We found a significant correlation between BW group and fetal organ T2* z-score in the fetal heart, kidney, lung and spleen. A positive linear correlation was demonstrated between fetal organ T2* and outcomes related to placental function such as BW deviation and placenta T2* in all investigated fetal organs except for the fetal liver. In the fetal heart, kidneys, and spleen the T2* value showed a significant correlation with fetal redistribution of blood flow (Middle cerebral artery Pulsatility Index) before delivery. Discussion: Fetal T2* is correlated with BW, placental function, and redistribution of fetal blood flow, suggesting that fetal organ T2* reflects fetal oxygenation and morphological changes related to placental dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-97
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.


  • Fetal growth restriction
  • Fetal oxygenation
  • Low birth weight
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • T2*
  • Transverse relaxation
  • Humans
  • Fetal Growth Retardation
  • Placenta Diseases
  • Gestational Age
  • Pregnancy
  • Birth Weight
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Placenta/blood supply
  • Pregnancy, High-Risk
  • Female


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