Non-gated fetal MRI of umbilical blood flow in an acardiac twin.


Currently, the standard method of diagnosis of twin reversed arterial perfusion (TRAP) sequence is ultrasound imaging. The use of MRI for flow visualization may be a useful adjunct to US imaging for assessing the presence of retrograde blood flow in the acardiac fetus and/or umbilical artery. The technical challenge in fetal MRI flow imaging, however, is that fetal electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring required for flow imaging is currently unavailable in the MRI scanner. A non-gated MRI flow imaging technique that requires no ECG monitoring was developed using the t-test to detect blood flow in 20 slices of phase-contrast MRI images randomly scanned at the same location over multiple cardiac cycles. A feasibility study was performed in a 24-week acardiac twin that showed no umbilical flow sonographically. Non-gated MRI flow images clearly indicated the presence of blood flow in the umbilical artery to the acardiac twin; however, there was no blood flow beyond the abdomen. This study leads us to conjecture that non-gated MRI flow imaging is sensitive in detecting low-range blood flow velocity and can be an adjunct to Doppler US imaging.