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Boston Hospital Receives First NICU MRI System in U.S.

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Brigham and Women's Hospital

Brigham and Women's Hospital received a new MRI system that provides high-quality scans specifically designed for safe imaging of newborns in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) on Friday the hospital announced.

According to a statement released by the hospital, the new system is in the hospital's Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine and is the first FDA-approved, NICU-dedicated MRI system in the U.S.

“The installation of the state-of-the-art, neonatal MRI system will greatly enhance the research capabilities of BWH and elevate and expand neurocritical care for our littlest patients,” said Terrie Inder, chair of the Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine.

Inder added that the technology will reduce the risks associated with transporting newborns to a traditional MRI. She said that the first hours of life for these babies can be challenging, even life threatening, so this technology will be a great help.

According to the statement, babies undergoing scans will be in a temperature-controlled self-contained incubator bed which minimizes the child's movement and allows for better control of the baby's environment. It will also continuously monitor the baby's vital signs.

The MRI will inform the care team, as well as the families, if the baby has a brain injury and how to best treat it.

The neonatal MRI system is quieter than traditional MRI scanners and uses lower power consumption. It has been specifically designed for the NICU, the statement said.

The system, called the EMBRACE by Aspect Imaging, will be used exclusively for applied medical research.

According to the statement, the system was hoisted via crane from Francis Street through a roof hatch into the NICU and moved into the room designed to house the new MRI system.

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