• Radiologic Technology News

MRI Helps Predict Preterm Birth Cases

Mar 21, 2016

According to a new study published in the journal Radiology, magnetic resonance imaging of the cervix is more accurate than ultrasound at predicting if some women will have a dangerous early birth.

Study results show that even though sonography is the standard for predicting premature labor, ultrasound measurements of the dilated cervix do not provide information on important changes in cervical tissue, especially in the critical antepartum phase just before childbirth. Early dilation of the cervix during pregnancy can often lead to preterm delivery.

"A better understanding of the process of antepartum cervical remodeling, loosely divided in two distinct phases called softening and ripening, is critical to improve the diagnosis of cervical malfunction and anticipate the occurrence of birth," said study author Gabriele Masselli, M.D., from Sapienza University in Rome, in a news release. The study concluded that MR is a "powerful imaging biomarker in evaluating patients with impending delivery."

The study used an MRI technique called diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) to examine 30 pregnant women who had been referred for suspected fetal or placental abnormality. DWI has been increasingly used for abdominal and pelvic diseases, but had never before been tested for the evaluation of the cervix in pregnant patients.

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