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Maternal and fetal incidental findings detected on antenatal MRI

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
JournalPediatric Radiology
Accepted/In press19 Mar 2021

King's Authors


Background: MRI examinations are increasingly used in antenatal clinical practice. Incidental findings are a recognized association with imaging and although in some circumstances, their identification can alter management, they are often associated with increased anxiety, for both patient and clinician, as well as increased healthcare costs.

Objective: this study aimed to evaluate the incidence of unexpected findings in both the mother and fetus during antenatal MRI examinations.

Materials and methods: a retrospective study was undertaken over a five-year period at St Thomas’ Hospital London. Maternal incidental findings were recorded from all clinical reports of all fetal MRIs undertaken during this period (those performed for both clinical reasons and women who had volunteered as healthy controls in research studies). Fetal incidental findings were recorded only in cases where women with uncomplicated pregnancies participating as healthy volunteers.

Results: a total of 2569 MRI scans were included: 17% of women had maternal incidental findings. One thousand and ninety-nine of these were women with uncomplicated pregnancies who undertook research MRIs as healthy volunteers: fetal incidental findings were identified in 13%.

Conclusion: Incidental findings are a common occurrence in antenatal MRI. Consideration should be given to counseling women appropriately prior to imaging and ensuring that robust local protocols are in place for the follow up and further management of such cases.

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