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Newborns breathe easy in customized MR incubator

Merlina Trevino; Diagnostic Imaging Online July 7, 2004;© 1996 – 2004 CMP Media LLC, a United; Business Media company


One size does not fit all when it comes to imaging newborns. Customized MRcompatible incubators with integrated head and body radio-frequency coils designed for neonates proved to be safe and provided higher quality images than standard imaging equipment, according to a study published in the May issue of Radiology. MR imaging for newborns has required lengthy, intensive preparations, and many systems come with RF coils designed for adults. Yet for many applications, in particular softtissue imaging, MR is simply the best tool, said lead researcher Stefan Blüml, Ph.D., an associate professor of radiology research at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. Researchers used the incubator with 13 neonatal patients already scheduled for an MRI exam who ranged in age from four to 12 weeks. Exams included nine brain, two cardiac, and two pelvic. Patients undergoing brain imaging also had MR spectroscopy performed. All brain MRI and MRS images were compared to images of six age-matched controls performed with standard equipment.