Pediatric Radiology

, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 217–223 | Cite as

Fetal brain morphometry on prenatal magnetic resonance imaging in congenital diaphragmatic hernia

  • Rupa RadhakrishnanEmail author
  • Stephanie L. Merhar
  • Patricia Burns
  • Bin Zhang
  • Foong-Yen Lim
  • Beth M. Kline-Fath
Original Article



Many infants with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) show brain abnormality on postnatal brain MRI related to severity of CDH, degree of lung hypoplasia, intrathoracic liver, right diaphragmatic hernia and large diaphragmatic defect. It is not known whether these factors affect brain growth in utero in CDH.


To assess prenatal brain morphometry and abnormalities on fetal MR in congenital diaphragmatic hernia.

Materials and methods

We retrospectively reviewed 109 fetal MRIs in 63 fetuses with CDH from 2009 to 2014 (27 died before discharge, 36 survived to discharge). We compared brain injury and gestational-age-corrected z-scores of brain measurements between survivors and non-survivors. We assessed correlations between brain abnormalities and CDH severity.


Enlarged extraaxial space was the most common abnormality, frequently seen on fetal MRI at >28 weeks of gestation, similar in survivors versus non-survivors. Anteroposterior cerebellar vermis dimension at >28 weeks of gestation was smaller in non-survivors compared to survivors (P=.02) and positively correlated with observed/expected total fetal lung volume (P=.01). Transverse cerebellar diameter at >28 weeks of gestation was also positively correlated with observed/expected total fetal lung volume (P=.04). We did not identify maturational delay, abnormal parenchymal signal or intracranial hemorrhage on fetal MRI.


Enlarged extraaxial spaces in the third trimester was the most common abnormality on fetal MRI in congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Cerebellar dimensions on fetal MRI are associated with CDH severity. There was no major brain parenchymal injury on fetal MRI, even in the third trimester, in CDH survivors and non-survivors.


Brain Cerebellum Congenital diaphragmatic hernia Fetus Lung hypoplasia Magnetic resonance imaging Neurodevelopment 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of RadiologyRiley Hospital for Children at Indiana University HealthIndianapolisUSA
  2. 2.Perinatal Institute, Division of NeonatologyCincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA
  3. 3.Fetal Care CenterCincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA
  4. 4.Department of Biostatistics and EpidemiologyCincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA
  5. 5.Department of RadiologyCincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA

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