Purpose: To identify the major technical challenges associated with in utero single-voxel proton spectroscopy of amniotic fluid and fetal lung and to evaluate the feasibility of performing in utero fetal spectroscopy for fetal lung maturity testing. Materials and Methods: Fetal magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy of amniotic fluid and fetal lung were performed at 1.5 T in 8 near-term pregnant women. Presence/absence of lactate and choline peaks was tabulated. Ex vivo spectra were obtained from amniotic fluid samples to investigate and refine sequence parameters. Results: Spectroscopy failed in 3 of 8 cases due to maternal discomfort (n = 1) or fetal gastroschisis (n = 2). Both fetal motion and low signal-to-noise ratio were limiting factors for the remaining 5 clinical in vivo studies at 1.5 T. Ex vivo and in vivo studies suggested feasibility for detecting lactate from amniotic fluid within a reasonable clinical scan time (4-5 minutes). Lactate was detected in 3 of 5 patients. Choline detection was limited and was detected in 1 patient. Conclusion: Minor motion effects can be overcome but continuous fetal motion is problematic. Lactate detection seems clinically feasible; but choline detection requires additional technical development and, potentially, further imaging at a higher field strength because of the low signal-to-noise ratio at 1.5 T.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging