Numerical study of RF exposure and the resulting temperature rise in the foetus during a magnetic resonance procedure

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)


Numerical simulations of specific absorption rate (SAR) and temperature changes in a 26-week pregnant woman model within typical birdcage body coils as used in 1.5 T and 3 T MRI scanners are described. Spatial distributions of SAR and the resulting spatial and temporal changes in temperature are determined using a finite difference time domain method and a finite difference bio-heat transfer solver that accounts for discrete vessels. Heat transfer from foetus to placenta via the umbilical vein and arteries as well as that across the foetal skin/amniotic fluid/uterinewall boundaries is modelled. Results suggest that for procedures compliant with IEC normal mode conditions (maternal whole-body averaged SAR(MWB) <= 2 W kg(-1) (continuous or time-averaged over 6 min)), whole foetal SAR, local foetal SAR(10g) and average foetal temperature are within international safety limits. For continuous RF exposure at SAR(MWB) = 2 W kg(-1) over periods of 7.5 min or longer, a maximum local foetal temperature > 38 degrees C may occur. However, assessment of the risk posed by such maximum temperatures predicted in a static model is difficult because of frequent foetal movement. Results also confirm that when SAR(MWB) = 2 W kg(-1), some local SAR(10g) values in the mother's trunk and extremities exceed recommended limits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)913-930
Number of pages18
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number4
Early online date20 Jan 2010
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2010

Cite this