Last year we learned of a stimulating medical device that would play a big role in expanding access to MRI imaging, by literally placing the technology on wheels. This world-first portable MRI machine proved its potential in early trials, and latest Yale-led study has built on this success by using it to detect cases of stroke in need of surgical intervention, with a high degree of accuracy.
Dubbed the Portable Point-of-Care MRI system, the machine is that the handiwork of healthcare technology company Hyperfine, and was developed as a mobile alternative to large & expensive MRI machines that need custom-built rooms for their powerful magnetic-fields. In essence, Hyperfine’s MRI solution harnesses advances in computing power to dial down the dimensions of magnets required, packing them into a machine that’s 10 times lighter, 20 times less expensive and uses 35 times less power than current MRI machines.
The machine are often rolled up to a patient’s bedside, plugged into a typical power outlet & perform MRIs without the necessity for extra protective equipment. it had been put to work in-a study last year involving 30 patients hospitalized with brain abnormalities like tumors & strokes, with the system accurately detecting those abnormalities in 29 of these subjects.
The same researchers have since conducted another study that explores potential of the portable MRI machine specifically in diagnosing stroke. Time is of the essence for doctors treating patients presenting with signs of stroke, with some caused by clots which might be cleared with blood thinning medication et al. caused by internal brain bleeding, which require surgical intervention.
The study involved 144 patients, with scientists drawing on both traditional neuroimaging scans & MRIs performed by portable machine. Trained experts then used the pictures to differentiate victims of intracranial hemorrhages (internal bleeding) from acute ischemic stokes (blood clots), along side healthy controls, with those counting on the portable MRI images doing so with 80% accuracy.
“There is not any question this device can help save lives in resource-limited settings, like rural hospitals or developing countries,” says Kevin Sheth, co-corresponding author of research. “There is additionally now a path to ascertain how it can help in modern settings. it’s of critical importance to still collect more data across a variety of stroke characteristics in order that we will maximize the potential advantage of this approach.”
According to researchers, this study is that the first to use a portable MRI device to validate the looks & clinical implications of a brain hemorrhage, though there’s still more boxes to be ticked before Hyperfine’s machine enters clinical use. If and when it does, however, it could play a pivotal role in improving health care in regions with no access to advanced brain imaging technology. As a part of their next steps, the researchers decide to further explore its potential in diagnosing head trauma, brain tumors & at-risk patients with high-blood pressure.
The research was published in the journal Nature Communications.