MRI Machines for Premature Babies

MRI Machines for Premature Babies

GE Healthcare has developed the first prototype MRI system for premature babies and vulnerable newborns, according to BBC news on January 23, 2017.

MRI machines require ample of space, are noisy and very heavy, usually placed at a safe distance from wards. To have babies scanned in these huge machines could be harmful. MRI, however, is a better scanning method than any other to take whole brain scans and identify any oxygen loss. To solve this major problem, GE Healthcare developed a scanner that would be smaller and safer than any other, capable of fitting into the Neonatal Intense Care Unit (NICU).

The creation of the world’s first mini-scanner brings hope to the improved prognosis and brain imaging in premature babies. This mini machine is being used by doctors in Sheffield. This MRI for the NICU showed the structures of the brain and abnormalities with better clearly.

So far, around 40 babies have been imaged in the new mini- MRI scanner.The babies are placed in the temperature controlled incubator, which prevents babies from moving a lot. The incubator is then directly moved into the MRI machine for scanning. This machine is fully enclosed and does not require a safety zone, making it fit to be placed in the NICU. The preparation and entire process, takes less than an hour to complete. Babies can be removed from this machine within 30 seconds, in case of any crisis or emergency.

This machine not only helps ensure the survival of babies during the most early and difficult days of their lives, but also prevents their nonexistent immune systems from being exposed to hospital germs. This smallest, safest and time efficient NICU MRI machine has the potential of drastically impacting the lives of many babies and parents.

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