Estimating cerebral venous oxygenation in human fetuses with ventriculomegaly using quantitative susceptibility mapping
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RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES: The goal of this study was to estimate venous blood oxygen saturation (SvO2) in the superior sagittal sinus (SSS) in fetal brains with ventriculomegaly (VM) using quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM). MATERIALS AND METHODS: A radiofrequency spoiled gradient echo sequence was used to evaluate data on 19 fetuses with VM (gestational age(GA): median = 29.9 weeks (range 23 to 37.3 weeks)) and 20 healthy fetuses (GA: median = 30.9 (range 22.7 to 38.7 weeks)) at 1.5 T. Susceptibility weighted images encompassing the entire fetal brain were acquired within 1 min. An iterative, geometry constraint-based thresholded k-space division algorithm was used for generating QSM data of the fetal brain. The venous oxygen saturation was calculated using the magnetic susceptibility of the SSS obtained from the QSM data. Mixed-model analysis of variance and interobserver variability assessment were used to analyze the results. RESULTS: The median SvO2 values in the entire VM cohort as well as for second and third trimester fetuses (with interquartile range) were: 67.8% (63.2%, 73.6%), 73.1% (69.1%, 77.3%) and 63.8% (59.4%, 68.1%), respectively. The corresponding median SvO2 value in the healthy control group was: 65.3% (58.3%, 68.2%), 67.5% (61.7%, 69.2%) and 60.8% (53.6%, 68.2%), respectively. However, the difference of SvO2 between VM and control groups was not significant at the p = 0.05 level (p = 0.076). The SvO2 was found decreasing significantly with GA in the healthy control group (p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: We report for the first time the estimation of cerebral SvO2 in human fetuses with VM using QSM. This measure of oxygen saturation might be beneficial in assessing and monitoring the metabolic status of the fetus in various clinical conditions.