NIH-funded study: Placenta imaging method may aid diagnosis of pregnancy complications

November 06, 2019

WHAT:

A new imaging technique to track maternal blood flow to the placenta has the potential to help diagnose several common complications in early pregnancy, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Researchers used the technique, referred to as pseudo-continuous arterial spin labeling magnetic resonance imaging (pCASL MRI), to identify women with reduced placental blood flow who later developed one or more complications. The study was conducted by Sherin U. Devasker, M.D., of the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues. It appears in the Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

Early in pregnancy, cells of the placenta cause uterine arteries to widen, increasing the supply of maternal blood. Failure of these blood vessels to enlarge sufficiently is thought to cause a number of potential complications. For the study, researchers classified these complications as ischemic placental disease (IPD), which includes preeclampsia (a life-threatening blood pressure disorder), intrauterine growth restriction (failure of the fetus to grow normally), and preterm birth.

The researchers scanned the placentas of 69 women, first at 14 to 18 weeks of pregnancy and then at 19 to 24 weeks. Unlike other technologies for imaging the placenta, pCASL MRI can distinguish maternal blood from fetal blood. A total of 15 pregnancies were ultimately identified as having one or more IPD conditions. Compared to the women without IPD, those with IPD had lower blood supply to the placenta at each of the two scans.

If the study results are confirmed, the method may provide a way to diagnose women at risk for ischemic placental disease in early pregnancy. Funding for the study was provided by NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) as part of its Human Placenta Project, a research effort to understand the role of the placenta in health and disease.
-end-
WHO:

David Weinberg, Ph.D., Lead of the NICHD Human Placenta Project, is available for comment.

ARTICLE:

Liu, D. Human placenta blood flow during early gestation with pseudo-continuous arterial spin labeling MRI. TITLE. Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging. 2019. DOI: 10.1002/jmri.26944.

About the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD): NICHD conducts and supports research in the United States and throughout the world on fetal, infant and child development; maternal, child and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation. For more information, visit NICHD's website.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.

NIH/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Related Pregnancy Articles from Brightsurf:

COVID-19 has a prolonged effect for many during pregnancy
Symptoms for pregnant women with COVID-19 can be prolonged, lasting two months or longer for a quarter of the women who participated in a national study led by UC San Francisco and UCLA.

Relaxed through pregnancy
A group of researchers from Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin have been able to show that maternal psychological wellbeing during pregnancy has a positive effect on newborn infants.

Trajectories of antidepressant medication use during pregnancy
In an analysis of women who started pregnancy when taking antidepressant medications, investigators identified three trajectories of antidepressant dispensing during pregnancy: more than half stopped their treatment, a quarter maintained their treatment throughout pregnancy, and one-fifth discontinued it for a minimum of three months and then resumed it during the postpartum period.

Are women using e-cigarettes during preconception and/or pregnancy?
A new study of 1,365 racially/ethnically diverse, low-income pregnant women found that 4% reported e-cigarette use.

A better pregnancy test for whales
To determine whale pregnancy, researchers have relied on visual cues or hormone tests of blubber collected via darts, but the results were often inconclusive.

Cannabis use during pregnancy
The large health care system Kaiser Permanente Northern California provides universal screening for prenatal cannabis use in women during pregnancy by self-report and urine toxicology testing.

Questions and answers about cannabis use during pregnancy
A new study shows that women have many medical questions about the use of cannabis both before and during pregnancy, and during the postpartum period while breastfeeding.

The effect of taking antidepressants during pregnancy
Exposure to antidepressants during pregnancy and the first weeks of life can alter sensory processing well into adulthood, according to research in mice recently published in eNeuro.

Is ivermectin safe during pregnancy?
Is it safe to give ivermectin to pregnant women? To answer this question, researchers from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), an institution supported by 'la Caixa,' conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies that reported cases of accidental exposure to the drug among pregnant women.

Going to sleep on your back in late pregnancy
This study looked at whether going to sleep on your back in the third trimester of pregnancy was associated with average lower birth weights.

Read More: Pregnancy News and Pregnancy Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.