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May 2024 - Patric Kienast


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Dr. Patric Kienast


Although the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infections during pregnancy on fetal outcomes is known, prior research has largely focused on placental histopathology, leaving a gap in understanding the prenatal effects of various SARS-CoV-2 variants. This study employed prenatal MRI to assess the impact of SARS-CoV-2 variants on the placenta and fetus. Infections with pre-Omicron and Omicron variants were both linked to abnormal placental shapes. The pre-Omicron variants were particularly associated with greater placental thickness, lobulation, and hemorrhagic events. Additionally, fetal growth restriction was observed in 25% of pre-Omicron cases. The study highlights the pronounced placental changes during infections with pre-Omicron variants, as detected by prenatal MRI, suggesting more severe placental damage compared to Omicron sub-lineages.

Selected Literature

  1. Kienast, P., Prayer, D., Binder, J., Prayer, F., Dekan, S., Langthaler, E., Sigl, B., Eichinger, S., Perkmann-Nagele, N., Stuempflen, I., Stuempflen, M., Schirwani, N., Pateisky, P., Mitter, C., & Kasprian, G. (2023). SARS-CoV-2 variant-related abnormalities detected by prenatal MRI: a prospective case-control study. The Lancet regional health. Europe, 26, 100587.
  2. Kienast, P., Schwartz, E., Diogo, M. C., Gruber, G. M., Brugger, P. C., Kiss, H., Ulm, B., Bartha-Doering, L., Seidl, R., Weber, M., Langs, G., Prayer, D., & Kasprian, G. (2021). The Prenatal Origins of Human Brain Asymmetry: Lessons Learned from a Cohort of Fetuses with Body Lateralization Defects. Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991), 31(8), 3713–3722.
  3. Stuempflen, M., Schwartz, E., Diogo, M. C., Glatter, S., Pfeiler, B., Kienast, P., Taymourtash, A., Schmidbauer, V. U., Bartha-Doering, L., Krampl-Bettelheim, E., Seidl, R., Langs, G., Prayer, D., & Kasprian, G. (2023). Fetal MRI based brain atlas analysis detects initial in utero effects of prenatal alcohol exposure. Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991), 33(11), 6852–6861.
  4. Schirwani-Hartl, N., Palmrich, P., Haberl, C., Perkmann-Nagele, N., Kiss, H., Berger, A., Rittenschober-Böhm, J., Kasprian, G., Kienast, P., Khalil, A., & Binder, J. (2023). Biweekly Versus Monthly Hyperimmune Globulin Therapy for Primary Cytomegalovirus Infection in Pregnancy. Journal of clinical medicine, 12(21), 6776.
  5. Fidon, L., Aertsen, M., Kofler, F., Bink, A., David, A. L., Deprest, T., Emam, D., Guffens, F., Jakab, A., Kasprian, G., Kienast, P., Melbourne, A., Menze, B., Mufti, N., Pogledic, I., Prayer, D., Stuempflen, M., Elslander, E. V., Ourselin, S., Deprest, J., … Vercauteren, T. (2024). A Dempster-Shafer Approach to Trustworthy AI With Application to Fetal Brain MRI Segmentation. IEEE transactions on pattern analysis and machine intelligence, PP, 10.1109/TPAMI.2023.3346330.
  6. Prayer, F., Kienast, P., Strassl, A., Moser, P. T., Bernitzky, D., Milacek, C., Gyöngyösi, M., Kifjak, D., Röhrich, S., Beer, L., Watzenböck, M. L., Milos, R. I., Wassipaul, C., Gompelmann, D., Herold, C. J., Prosch, H., & Heidinger, B. H. (2023). Detection of Post-COVID-19 Lung Abnormalities: Photon-counting CT versus Same-Day Energy-integrating Detector CT. Radiology, 307(1), e222087.

Dr. Patric Kienast

Medizinische Universität Wien
Universitätsklinik für Radiologie und Nuklearmedizin
Klinische Abteilung für Neuroradiologie und Muskuloskeletale Radiologie
Währinger Gürtel 18-20
1090 Wien

T: +43 (0)1 40400-48950