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At Shaare Zedek Medical Center in
Jerusalem they are utilizing the first
dedicated NICU MR system to receive
FDA approval and CE Mark.

Bringing the MR suite to the NICU

By Dr. Alona Bin-Nun
From the April 2018 issue of DOTmed HealthCare Business News magazine

There are few areas of the hospital where care is more critical than the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

The NICU is a very intense and complex world where, every day, medical staff faces unique challenges as they seek the best treatments for the most delicate of patients. To put the challenge in perspective, 1 in 10 babies are born premature, amounting to 15 million premature births globally every year.
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There are many reasons why babies are admitted to the NICU and health care professionals working in the NICU are subject to a vast range of situations and emotions. Sometimes heartbreaking loss takes place while at other times there is the overwhelming joy of a baby being discharged and taken home by happy parents.

In some cases, a baby may have a problem that remains undiagnosed because of the lack of the appropriate diagnostic tools. This means that the correct treatment to positively affect the outcome cannot be delivered.

One of the major difficulties faced by neonatologists is getting an accurate and swift diagnosis, since in newborns, symptoms of neurological disorders, if they appear at all, are not only very subtle, but also shared by multiple conditions. Premature infants can suffer from a wide range of neurologic pathologies such as:

• Germinal matrix and intraventricular hemorrhage
• PVL (Periventricular leukomalacia)
• White matter injury
• Cerebral hemorrhage
• Cerebral Infarction
• Deep gray matter injury

As such, it is necessary to conduct a series of tests to provide a correct diagnosis. Ultrasound has traditionally been the modality of choice for this process and has proved extremely useful in identifying a range of problems. However, there are limitations to what US can identify. This is where MRI steps in. MRI can provide an assessment of brain anatomy, monitor brain development, evaluate the severity and pattern of brain injury, monitor the effects of interventions and eventually may assist in clinical management and offer prognosis information.

At Shaare Zedek Medical Center, we have been utilizing the Embrace Neonatal MRI from Aspect Imaging, the first dedicated NICU MRI system to receive FDA approval and CE Mark. The ability to conduct safer imaging of newborns inside the NICU without having to transport them to an external MRI facility has proven to be a huge benefit to our ability to provide the best care.

Early infancy can be a very dangerous period for brain development, during which neurological disorders may occur for a large variety of reasons. Some of these disorders stem from complications during the birth process, such as full-term babies undergoing birth-related asphyxia (deprivation of oxygen to the brain). Some stem from prenatal processes, such as the development of central nervous system malformations, while others are caused by postpartum injury, such as in small, preterm infants with an immature central nervous system.
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