Postmortem Fetal Temperature Estimation with Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Apparent Diffusion Coefficient Measurements in the Vitreous Body and Cerebrospinal Fluid

Maud P M Tijssen*, Paul A M Hofman, Simon G F Robben

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVES: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is increasingly used in postmortem fetal imaging. Several factors influence the quality of MRI in this setting, such as small size, autolytic and maceration changes, and temperature. Knowing the fetal temperature at the time of scanning can improve the MRI interpretation. Temperature can be calculated using diffusion-weighted imaging with measurements of the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). However, this is complicated by small ventricle size and hemorrhage and, therefore, may be unreliable in postmortem imaging. The current study evaluated the feasibility and reliability of using the ADC for temperature measurements of the vitreous body compared to that of CSF.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Two lambs were scanned postmortem at five different time points over 28 hours. Furthermore, 10 stillborn fetuses were scanned once, at 4 to 62 hours after birth. The temperature was measured with a digital thermometer and calculated using the ADCs of the vitreous body (lambs and fetuses) and CSF (fetuses).

RESULTS: There was an excellent correlation between measured and calculated temperatures in vitreous bodies of lambs (r = 0.997, P < 0.001) and fetuses (r = 0.970, P < 0.001). The correlation between measured and calculated temperatures in the CSF was poor (r = 0.522, P = 0.122).

CONCLUSION: The calculation of the temperature based on the ADC of the vitreous body is feasible and reliable for postmortem fetal imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-30
Number of pages6
JournalTopics in Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022

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