Three-Dimensional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Post-mortem Fetal Heart

* also see 3D MR Imaging of Other Fetal Parts under the Visible Fetus

Read Display Info if you have difficulty browsing these graphics-orientated pages.To view a movie, click on an image with a [GIF] or [AVI] link)
[.gif 17kb]
Fig. 1. Three-dimensional (3D) outside view of the fetal heart reconstructed from two-dimensional (2D) MR slices. RA & LA: right & left atria; RV & LV: right and left ventricles; AO: aorta; PA: pulmonary artery; IVC: inferior vena cava. In the movie, the two atria have been 'edited off' to give a better view of the two great arteries. [AVI 397 KB] 
[.gif 12kb]
Fig. 2. Two cardiac ventricles (back view with two atria and great arteries 'edited off'). The LV can be differentiated from the RV by finding two characteristic papillary muscles in the left chamber of the image. APM & PPM: anterior and posterior papillary muscles; CTC: coarse trabeculae carnae including papillary muscles; IVS: interventricular septum. For other abbreviations see figure 1. [AVI 397 KB]
[.gif 14kb]
Fig. 3. 3D inside view of the fetal heart. Note that the superior right pulmonary vein (SRPV) and foramen ovale (FO) are clearly depicted while the foramen ovale valve (FOV, a very thin structure) is only partially visualised. DAO: descending aorta. For other abbreviations see figure 1. [AVI 293 KB]
[.gif 81kb]
Fig. 4. Multiplanar reformatting of a 3D object. Unlimited sets of 3D (image o) and 2D (images a-c) views of the fetal heart can be generated by changing the object's orientation to any user-desired direction. Images a and b are sectioned by planes (a) and (b), both perpendicular to image o while image c by plane (c), parallel to image o. SVC: superior vena cava; OES: oesophagus. For other abbreviations see figure 1.
[.gif 39kb] Fig. 5. 3D visualisation of a displaced fetal heart and compressed right lung (RLng), caused by diaphragmatic hernia. Note that left liver (LLvr), some gut and spleen (Sp) are herniated into the left thorax through the diaphragm. The severely compressed left lung is not shown here. RLvr: right liver. [AVI 596 KB] 
Abstract [Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy 1996; 11: 417-21]
Five post-mortem fetuses were scanned by magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. Of eight three-dimensional (3D) data sets reconstructed on an MGI workstation, five sets demonstrated detailed 3D fetal cardiac structures, and one depicted clear information regarding the disposition and compression of the heart and lungs in diaphragmatic hernia. This study has shown the potential of 3D MR imaging in support of post-mortem examination and for interactive visual teaching of the fetal cardiac structures. The new technique may eventually be of significance in prenatal diagnosis of cardiac abnormalities with the development of fast real-time MR imaging.