Placental Imaging Project (PIP)

Principal Investigator: Bob Silver
Keywords: MRI , Placenta , Pregnancy Department: Obstetrics And Gynecology (Dept)
IRB Number: 00086943 Co Investigator: Karen  Gibbins
Specialty: OB/Gyn, General, Maternal-Fetal Medicine
Sub Specialties: Obstetrics,
Recruitment Status: Recruiting

Contact Information

Kathryn Szczotka

Brief Summary

The purpose of this study is to test the application of newly generated placental MRI protocols in human subjects. This new method avoids the need for contrast agent administration and thus provides improved safety for MRI use during pregnancy.

Our objectives are:

  1. Establish the normal variance of placental perfusion in pregnant women across gestation.

  2. Apply our new MRI protocol in women at high risk for vascular compromise (i.e., smokers and those with a prior history of placental insufficiency) to test the sensitivity and specificity of this new technique for predicting adverse clinical outcomes.

    We hypothesize that, by using non-contrast MRI, we will detect decreased placental perfusion domain function in pregnancies complicated by placental insufficiency.

    Endpoint: Successful development of these tools will significantly advance non-invasive imaging of placental function by creating a method that quantitatively determines placental perfusion while preserving the vascular characteristics that are unique to the human placenta.


Inclusion Criteria

Chart review to identify potential study participants in early pregnancy to allow the first scan to be scheduled and completed in the 12 – 16 week gestational age range.

Pregnant women will be recruited based on inclusion criteria for 3 subject groups:

            1) non-smokers with low risk for placental insufficiency

            2) Smokers

            3) Non-smokers who are at a high risk for adverse outcomes based on prior clinical history

Inclusion criteria: Pregnant women fulfilling inclusion criteria, and not meeting exclusion criteria, will be invited to participate in this study.

Inclusion criteria for all groups:

  1. Maternal age over 18 years and able to give informed consent

  2. Pregnant patient, as defined by positive pregnancy test for elevated β-HCG and certain menstrual history, or early ultrasound, identified prior to14 weeks of gestation

Inclusion criteria for low risk group:

  1. At least one successful pregnancy defined as a non-anomalous, singleton delivery at 37-41 weeks gestation.

  2. No history of a second or third trimester loss

  3. No history of fetal growth restriction

  4. No history of preterm birth

Inclusion criteria for high risk group

  1. History of pregnancy complicated by placental insufficiency in a previous singleton pregnancy

    1. Severe preeclampsia requiring preterm delivery
    2. Preterm delivery due to placental insufficiency (e.g. FGR, oligohydramnios, abnormal umbilical artery Doppler’s, abnormal antenatal testing)
    3. FGR <10 % delivered at term with an additional finding concerning for placental cause (e.g. Oligo, abnormal UA Doppler)
    4. Stillbirth attributed to placental cause, regardless of gestational age
  2. Not currently a smoker

  3. Pregnancy at risk for placental insufficiency due to clinical concerns (e.g., chronic hypertension)

  4. Spontaneous preterm birth <34 weeks

Inclusion criteria for smokers/marijuana group:

1.         Perturbation during current pregnancy 

Exclusion Criteria

These criteria will exclude women whose medications, personality traits or obstetric conditions could confound their ability to complete a 1 hour MRI scan.

  1. Individuals with intellectual disability or who are incarcerated

  2. Multiple gestation including twin demise regardless of placentation

  3. Major fetal anomalies known to be associated with abnormal growth (i.e. major congenital heart defect, gastroschisis)

  4. Current maternal history of alcohol or illicit drug use

  5. Current medical problems requiring chronic on going treatment:

    • Cancer

    • Active liver disease (acute hepatitis, chronic active hepatitis, persistently abnormal liver enzymes)

    • Chronic pulmonary disease requiring regular use of medication (exercise asthma or seasonal allergies are allowable

  6. Prior history of claustrophobia

  7. Metal implants. Inclusion of participants with a metal implant will be determined after discussion with each site’s MRI team and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, based on type of implant and where the implant is located in the body.

  8. Increased aneuploidy risk based on ultrasound findings or genetic testing