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MRI tests can accurately diagnose dangerous pregnancy complication

Category: Female Specific Tests

Taking a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test may help pregnant women detect a potentially fatal pregnancy complication known as placenta accrete, a new study indicates.

The condition, which occurs when the placenta surrounding the fetus attaches too deeply to a woman's uterine wall, is most dangerous when undetected until the time of delivery, according to researchers at the University of California, San Diego.

In evaluating the accuracy of MRI diagnostic testing, doctors at UCSD studied 108 women who were thought to be at a significant risk for placenta accrete. The researchers found that MRI had a 90.1 percent accuracy rate in detecting the condition.

Risk factors include placenta previa, uterine scarring and prior cesarean births. Pregnancies after the age of 35 also increase the chances of the complication.

"Due to the increase in cesarean sections and other surgeries that leave scarring on the uterine wall, coupled with women giving birth later in life, the incidence of accrete has increased dramatically over the past 20 years," said lead researcher and radiologist Dr Reena Malhotra.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of cesarean deliveries increased by 50 percent between 1996 and 2006.

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