Feasibility of QSM in the human placenta

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Magnetic Resonance in Medicine




placenta; QSM; quantitative susceptibility mapping


© 2020 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine Purpose: Quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) is an emerging tool for the precise characterization of human tissue, including regional oxygenation. A critical function of the human placenta is oxygen transfer to the developing fetus, which remains difficult to study in utero. The purpose of this study is to investigate the feasibility of performing QSM in the human placenta in utero. Methods: In healthy pregnant women, 3D gradient echo data of the placenta were acquired with prospective respiratory gating at 1.5 Tesla and 3 Tesla. A brief period (6-7 min) of maternal hyperoxia was induced to increase placental oxygenation in a subset of women scanned at 3 Tesla, and data were acquired before and during oxygen administration. Susceptibility and (Formula presented.) / (Formula presented.) maps were reconstructed from gradient echo data, and mean and SD of these measures within the whole placenta were calculated. Results: A total of 54 women were studied at a mean gestational age of 30.7 ± 4.2 (range: 24 5/7-38 4/7) weeks. Susceptibility and (Formula presented.) maps demonstrated lobular contrast reflecting regional oxygenation difference at both field strengths. SD of susceptibilities, mean (Formula presented.), and SD of (Formula presented.) of the placenta showed a linear relationship with gestational age (P <.01 for all). These measures were also responsive to maternal hyperoxia, and there was an increasing response with advancing gestational age (P <.01 for all). Conclusion: This study demonstrates the feasibility of performing placental QSM in pregnant women and supports the potential for placental QSM to provide noninvasive in vivo assessment of placental oxygenation.

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