Indian American led study shows new MRI device can save lives

Device particularly useful in rural hospitals or developing countries, says Yale researcher Kevin Sheth

A new study led by Yale’s Indian American researcher Kevin Sheth shows that a portable MRI device can provide potentially life-saving information particularly in areas where sophisticated brain imaging scans are not readily available.

When patients exhibit stroke symptoms, the new MRI device can help doctors quickly determine whether their symptoms are caused by a clot that can be treated with blood thinners or by bleeding in the brain, which may require surgery?

“There is no question this device can help save lives in resource-limited settings, such as rural hospitals or developing countries,” said Sheth, professor of neurology and neurosurgery at Yale School of Medicine and co-corresponding author of the research.

“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 maximize the potential benefit of this approach,” he said.

Read: Cornell awards Indian American Saurabh Mehta endowed professorship (September 1, 2021)

The results were published Aug. 25 in the journal Nature Communications, according to a press release from New Haven, Connecticut-based private Ivy League research university.

For the study, the research team examined the efficacy of a device known as the Portable Point-of-Care MRI system, which can be wheeled down a hospital hallway and costs a fraction of traditional MRI technologies.

Developed by Hyperfine Research Inc., a part of the Guilford, Connecticut-based medical technology incubator 4Catalyzer, it can be used almost anywhere by medical technicians with even minimal training.

The researchers compared the results of portable MRI scans of 144 patients at Yale New Haven Hospital with results obtained from traditional neuroimaging scans.

Specifically, the portable MRI was used to scan brain injury patients at the bedside. Neuroradiologists interpreting images acquired by Hyperfine’s portable MRI correctly identified 80% of intracerebral hemorrhages.

The study is the first to validate the appearance and clinical implications of a brain hemorrhage using a portable MRI device.

Sheth and his team are also investigating the potential of portable MRI technologies in helping diagnose and monitor head trauma and brain tumors, and to assess brain health in people with risk factors such as high blood pressure.

The research team was led by Yale’s Sheth and Mercy Mazurek, a clinical research analyst and first author, and co-corresponding author W. Taylor Kimberly of Massachusetts General Hospital.

Researchers from Hyperfine also contributed to the paper. The research was primarily funded by the American Heart Association, the National Institutes of Health, and Hyperfine Research.

Read: Portable MRI Provides Life-saving Information to Doctors Treating Strokes (August 25, 2021)

Sheth, founding Chief of the Division of Neurocritical Care & Emergency Neurology, is recognized for his leadership in prevention, acute treatment, and recovery, according to his official bio.

In pioneering the development of new strategies to treat brain swelling, his work has changed the fundamental approach to brain injury in the ICU and spurned the creation of new technologies in drug delivery and neuroimaging.

Author of over 250 publications, he is a winner of the prestigious Robert Siekert Award from the American Heart Association (AHA), the Derek Denny Brown Award from the American Neurological Association and an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI).

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