Stroke: Portable MRI saves time and brain

May is National Stroke Awareness month.
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 6:13 AM CDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ivanhoe Newswire) – May is National Stroke Awareness month. Every year, 800,000 Americans have a stroke, which blocks blood vessels to the brain and could cause irreversible brain damage. Only about 25 percent of patients reach the emergency room with enough time for clot-busting medications and procedures to work. Now, doctors have a new tool that they can use at a patient’s bedside that is saving valuable time.

When someone has a stroke, time is brain.

“Neurons and nerve cells are being lost almost immediately,” neurosurgeon at the Ohio State University Medical Center, Dr. Shahid Nimjee, emphasizes.

Doctors have just four and a half hours from the beginning of the stroke to give drugs that open the clogged vessels. Most stroke victims don’t receive treatment in time to prevent brain damage. Now, doctors at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center are among the first in the country to use an MRI machine on wheels called the Hyperfine Swoop. Doctors can wheel the device to a patient.

Dr. Nimjee explains, “The patient goes from the bed and slides up into the machine and the head goes into the frame. Once the patient’s in that frame, the scan can immediately start.”

The portable MRI has a lower magnetic field strength than a standard MRI, which shortens the screening time from 40 minutes to just 20 minutes. A doctor gets real-time images on an iPad, allowing them to quickly determine whether a patient could benefit from clot-busting treatment, even outside of the traditional window.

“The ability to have real-time access to imaging and make a decision in a time critical fashion, I think is imperative as we move forward to treating more stroke patients,” Dr. Nimjee mentions.

Because the Hyperfine portable MRI uses a lower magnetic field strength, doctors don’t have to be as concerned about implants, which shortens the screening protocols and eliminates the need for comprehensive metal detections.

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