Fetal akinesia and associated abnormalities on prenatal MRI




In view of the increasing role of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as an adjunct to prenatal ultrasonography (US), this study sought to demonstrate the visualization of fetal akinesia and associated abnormalities on MRI.


This retrospective study included six fetuses with akinesia and associated abnormalities, depicted on fetal MRI after suspicious prenatal US. The whole fetus was assessed for musculoskeletal abnormalities and associated pathological conditions elsewhere. Fetal outcome data were compared with prenatal imaging. US and MRI findings were also compared.


Akinesia resulting in arthrogryposis was seen in 6/6 fetuses, with abnormal musculature in 5/6 fetuses. Associated brain abnormalities were found in 2/6 fetuses; facial abnormalities in 3/6; lung hypoplasia in 3/6; and polyhydramnios in 2/6.

There were 5/6 pregnancies that were terminated and one individual died neonatally. MRI and brain autopsy were concordant in 4/6 cases. MRI and body autopsy were concordant in 1/6 cases and in 5/6 cases, autopsy revealed additional abnormalities. In addition to US, MRI correctly identified central nervous system findings in four cases and lung hypoplasia in three cases.


Our MRI results demonstrate fetal akinesia and associated abnormalities, which may have an impact on perinatal management, as an adjunct to prenatal US. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.