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Title: Assessment of placental and fetal oxygenation in normal and abnormal pregnancy using magnetic resonance imaging
Author: Huen, Isaac Kwong-Ping
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 2314
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2014
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Fetal growth restriction (FGR) is a common pregnancy complication resulting in increased neonatal mortality and morbidity. The aetiology of fetal growth restriction is not fully understood, but abnormalities in placental development are, leading to abnormalities in placental structure which are thought to affect supply of oxygen to the fetus. The source of fetal hypoxia is unknown due to the difficulty in obtaining oxygenation data in the context of pregnancy using existing techniques. There is also an absence of data relating to oxygenation in FGR pregnancies. Oxygen-Enhanced MRI (OE-MRI) and Blood Oxygen-Level Dependent (BOLD) MRI permit noninvasive acquisition of data related to changes in the concentration of dissolved oxygen (pO2) and changes in hemoglobin saturation (sO2) under air- and oxygen- breathing (hyperoxic challenge).The aim of this project was to determine whether MRI methods can provide information relating to placental oxygenation in normal and FGR-compromised pregnancy, to investigate fetal brain oxygenation and to assess the potential confound of placental perfusion changes under hyperoxic challenge. After optimization of sequences in non-pregnant volunteers, similar pO2 and sO2 increases under hyperoxic challenge were seen in normal and FGR pregnancy. This suggested placental oxygenation was similar and that fetal extraction of oxygen may be a likelier cause of fetal hypoxia. Normal fetal brain oxygenation was found not to increase under hyperoxic challenge, which may be due to hemodynamic adaptation to limit cerebral hyperoxygenation. Finally, the robustness of these oxygenation results was supported by the lack of placental perfusion changes observed under hyperoxia using Arterial Spin Labeling (ASL).In conclusion, MRI methods successfully provided information on placental and fetal oxygenation in normal and abnormal pregnancy, obtaining novel data informing the aetiology of FGR and the physiology of the fetal brain.
Supervisor: Sibley, Colin; Naish, Josephine; Johnstone, Edward; Morris, David Sponsor: Biomedical Imaging Institute
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: placenta ; longitudinal relaxation time ; transverse relaxation time ; oxygen ; fetal growth restriction ; magnetic resonance imaging ; brain