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World's first studies with bedside portable MR in pediatric ECMO patients

Press releases may be edited for formatting or style | April 07, 2023 MRI Pediatrics
Bonn, April 5, 2023 - The neonatology team at Bonn University Hospital (UKB) has conducted the world's first study of children receiving ECMO therapy using the mobile magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The procedure, known as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), involves oxygenating the blood outside the body. The findings of the successful, innovative study of the first four pediatric ECMO patients using the mobile MRI has now been published in the prestigious journal Critical Care.

Patients who require ECMO therapy beyond a conservative ventilator are critically ill. Reasons may include lung failure, heart failure or infection. Children who require this special procedure can only be treated at a special treatment center such as the Children's ECMO Center of the UKB, where they are closely monitored. Here, both newborns and older children are treated with ECMO therapy.

"It is often necessary in this sensitive group of patients, even during ECMO therapy, to have an MRI of the brain to check the relevant structures in the brain. However, transport to a fixed device is unfortunately not possible," says Prof. Sabir. Last August, a grant from the Bill Gates Foundation enabled him to purchase a mobile MRI, which is being used at the UKB for the first time in Germany to clinically test diagnostics on premature and newborn infants. So far, it has only been used for research purposes in London. The mobile MRI has already been in use at the UKB for more than half a year and represents a groundbreaking further optimization of diagnostics for neonatal patients.
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25 children have since been scanned in the mobile MRI at the UKB - the youngest weighed only 450 grams, the oldest was already 10 years old. The mobile MRI was used for routine examinations and for further diagnosis of abnormalities, e.g. after asphyxia (oxygen deficiency at birth). To evaluate the image quality of the mobile low-field MRI, a comparison image was taken in the permanently installed normal-field MRI at the UKB for each of the children examined. "We were more than satisfied with the results. Although the image quality of the mobile MRI is not as high-resolution as that of a fixed device, the image data are ideal for emergency diagnostics and, above all, can be retrieved immediately. Among other things, we were able to detect brain hemorrhages, strokes or acute changes, such as the accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid, in the children examined so far and initiate the appropriate therapies immediately," says Prof. Sabir.

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