Fat imaging via magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in young children (ages 1-4 years) without sedation

Grace E. Shearrer, Benjamin T. House, Michelle C. Gallas, Jeffrey J. Luci, Jaimie N. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Introduction: This pilot study developed techniques to perform Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of specific fat deposition in 18 children (age 18 months to 4 years). Methods: The children engaged in a series of practice tests to become acclimated to the scanner noises, reduce claustrophobia, and rehearse holding still for a set time. The practice tests assessed if the child could remain still for two minutes while watching a video, first while lying on a blanket, second, on the blanket with headphones, and third, in the mock scanner. The children who passed the three practice tests were then scanned with a 3T Siemens Skyra magnet. Abdominal fat distribution (region of interest (ROI) from the top of the ileac crest to the bottom of the ribcage) volume was measured using 2-point DIXON technique. This region was chosen to give an indication of the body composition around the liver. Results: Twelve out of eighteen participants successfully completed the actual MRI scan. Chisquared test showed no significant difference between male and female pass-fail rates. The median age of completed scans was 36 months, whereas the median age for children unable to complete a scan was 28 months. The average total trunk fat was 240.9±85.2mL and the average total VAT was 37.7±25.9mLand liver fat was not quantifiable due to physiological motion. Several strategies (modeling, videos, and incentives) were identified to improve pediatric imaging in different age ranges. Conclusion: Using an age-specific and tailored protocol, we were able to successfully use MRI for fat imaging in a majority of young children. Development of such protocols enables researchers to better understand the etiology of fat deposition in young children, which can be used to aid in the prevention and treatment of adiposity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0149744
JournalPloS one
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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