Portable MRI pinpoints strokes that need surgical treatment

September 1, 2021
Portable MRI

A portable MRI machine, the handiwork of healthcare technology company Hyperfine Research Inc. (Hyperfine), has just been used in a new Yale-led study to accurately detect cases of stroke in need of surgical intervention. Hyperfine’s Portable Point-of-Care MRI system packs powerful magnets into a much smaller and more cost-effective device, that could even be handled by medical technicians with minimal training.

Since an initial study of 30 patients with brain abnormalities last year, researchers at Yale School of Medicine conducted another study to test the potential of the portable MRI machine – specifically in diagnosing stroke.

Related: New 3D MRI technique offers better diagnostic capabilities

It is crucial for doctors to distinguish between signs of stroke, which can be caused by blood clots (acute ischaemic strokes) or by internal brain bleeding (intracranial haemorrhages). Clots can thankfully be cleared with blood thinning medication, while internal brain bleeds require immediate surgical intervention.

The researchers had studied traditional neuroimaging scans and MRIs performed by the portable machine of 144 patients. Neuroradiologists relying on the portable MRI images to determine the cause of stroke did so with 80% accuracy.

On the tail of this success researchers are already planning to further explore the device’s potential in diagnosing head trauma, brain tumours and at-risk patients with high-blood pressure.

“There is no question this device can help save lives in resource-limited settings, such as rural hospitals or developing countries,” said Kevin Sheth, professor of neurology and neurosurgery at Yale. “There is also now a path to see how it can help in modern settings. It is of critical importance to continue to collect more data across a range of stroke characteristics so that we can maximise the potential benefit of this approach.”

Content source: Portable MRI provides life-saving information to doctors treating strokes

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