This paper presents the first in vivo measurements of the nuclear magnetic resonance relaxation times T1 and T2 at 0.5 T in the human placenta from 20 weeks gestational age until term, in both normal and compromised pregnancies. T1 measurements were performed by using both an inversion recovery sequence and the Look-Locher echo planar imaging (EPI) sequence on a total of 41 women with normal pregnancies and 11 women with compromised pregnancies. T2 measurements were performed by using a spin- echo EPI sequence on 36 women with normal pregnancies and 14 women with compromised pregnancies. In normal pregnancies, both the T1 values measured with the inversion recovery sequence and the T2 values were found to decrease with gestational age, the linear regression results gave T1 = - 9.1t + 1538 r2 = 0.23 p = 0.03 T2 = -4.0t + 338 r2=0.47 p=4 10-6 where t is the gestational age in weeks, and T1 and T2 are the relaxation times in milliseconds T1 values measured very rapidly with the Look-Locher EPI sequence, but, therefore, with a much lower signal-to-noise ratio, showed no significant trends. The T1 values measured in the abnormal group were significantly lower than those measured in the normal group. Four out of eight patients with compromised pregnancies had placental T1 values lying outside the 90% confidence limits for the normal population based about the regression line, significantly more than expected by chance (p = 0.005). Ten out of fourteen of the T2 measurements in the abnormal group were below the regression line established for the normal group, with 4 lying below the 90% confidence interval, although these trends were only just significant (p = 0.06 and p = 0.03).
- Echo-planar imaging
- Relaxation times
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging