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Prenatal Imaging: Ultrasonography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Reddy, Uma M. MD, MPH1; Filly, Roy A. MD2; Copel, Joshua A. MD3

doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000318871.95090.d9
Current Commentary

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development held a workshop on September 18–19, 2006, to summarize the available evidence on the role and performance of current fetal imaging technology and to establish a research agenda. Ultrasonography is the imaging modality of choice for pregnancy evaluation due to its relatively low cost, real-time capability, safety, and operator comfort and experience. First-trimester ultrasonography extends the available window for fetal observation and raises the possibility of performing an early anatomic survey. Three-dimensional ultrasonography has the potential to expand the clinical application of ultrasonography by permitting local acquisition of volumes and remote review and interpretation at specialized centers. New advances allow performance of fetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) without maternal or fetal sedation, with improved characterization and prediction of prognosis of certain fetal central nervous system anomalies such as ventriculomegaly when compared with ultrasonography. Fewer data exist on the usefulness of fetal MRI for non–central nervous system anomalies.

Experts reviewed the performance of existing fetal imaging technology and suggested a future research agenda. Supplemental Digital Content is Available in the Text.

From the 1Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, Maryland; 2University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California; and 3Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.

This workshop was cosponsored by Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, Office of Rare Diseases, National Institutes of Health and Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, and Gottesfeld-Hohler-Carlson Foundation. For a listing of participants in the workshop, See Appendix 1 online at

Corresponding author: Uma M. Reddy, MD, MPH, 6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 4B03F, Bethesda, MD 20892-7510; e-mail:

Financial Disclosure The authors have no potential conflicts of interest to disclose.

© 2008 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists