Neonatal CXRs are commonly performed as a first line investigation for the evaluation of respiratory complications. Although lung area derived from CXRs correlates well with functional assessments of the neonatal lung, it is not currently utilised in clinical practice, partly due to the lack of reference ranges for CXR-derived lung area in healthy neonates. Advanced MR techniques now enable direct evaluation of both fetal pulmonary volume and area. This study therefore aims to generate reference ranges for pulmonary volume and area in uncomplicated pregnancies, evaluate the correlation between prenatal pulmonary volume and area, as well as to assess the agreement between antenatal MRI-derived and neonatal CXR-derived pulmonary area in a cohort of fetuses that delivered shortly after the antenatal MRI investigation.
Fetal MRI datasets were retrospectively analysed from uncomplicated term pregnancies and a preterm cohort that delivered within 72 hours of the fetal MRI. All examinations included T2 weighted single-shot turbo spin echo images in multiple planes. In-house pipelines were applied to correct for fetal motion using deformable slice-to-volume reconstruction. An MRI-derived lung area was manually segmented from the average intensity projection images generated. Postnatal lung area in the preterm cohort was measured from neonatal CXRs within 24 hours of delivery. Pearson correlation coefficient was used to correlate MRI-derived lung volume and area. A two-way absolute agreement was performed between the MRI-derived AIP lung area and CXR-derived lung area.
Datasets from 180 controls and 10 preterm fetuses were suitable for analysis. Mean gestational age at MRI was 28.6±4.2 weeks for controls and 28.7±2.7 weeks for preterm neonates. MRI-derived lung area correlated strongly with lung volumes (p<0.001). MRI-derived lung area had good agreement with the neonatal CXR-derived lung area in the preterm cohort [both lungs=0.982]
MRI-derived pulmonary area correlates well with absolute pulmonary volume and there is good correlation between MRI-derived pulmonary area and postnatal CXR-derived lung area when delivery occurs within a few days of the MRI examination. This may indicate that fetal MRI derived lung area may prove to be useful reference ranges for pulmonary areas derived from CXRs obtained in the perinatal period.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEarly Human Development
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 17 May 2024


  • Lung development
  • fetal MRI
  • reference ranges
  • neonatal CXR
  • preterm


Dive into the research topics of 'Correlation of fetal lung area with MRI derived pulmonary volume'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this