Purpose: The characteristics of fetal thyroid on magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, including normal thyroid and disorders other than goiter have not been fully evaluated. Our aim was to assess fetal thyroid using three dimensional (3D) gradient echo (GRE) T1-weighted MR imaging and to examine the usefulness of this modality.
Materials and Methods: The study included 27 3D GRE T1-weighted images from 26 fetuses. The largest possible region of interest (ROI) within the thyroid at the slice level depicting the thyroid was manually defined and three circular ROIs on neck muscle were manually defined on the image slices showing the highest signal intensity (SI) of the thyroid. Maximum and mean thyroid-to-muscle SI ratios (SIRs) were then calculated as SIR = maximum or mean thyroid SI/muscle SI.
Results: The thyroid could not be identified in two cases. Fetal thyroid function was normal in 17 cases, and there were 7 cases of hypothyroidism (6 transient and 1 thyroid dysgenesis). There was no linear relationship between mean and maximum SIR and gestational age. The mean and maximum SIR in the cases of normal fetal thyroid were 1.85 ± 0.20 and 2.61 ± 0.39, and the mean and maximum SIR in fetal hypothyroidism were 1.58 ± 0.20 and 2.13 ± 0.37. Mean (P = 0.0088) and maximum (P = 0.0221) SIR values were significantly different between euthyroid and hypothyroid fetuses.
Conclusion: Thyroid SIR measurement provided useful information regarding fetal thyroid function.
2017 by Japanese Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine