FDA Approves New MRI for Neonates

Embrace Neonatal MRI System

The FDA recently approved a magnetic resonance imaging device (MRI) designed specifically for brain/head imaging of infants in the NICU. It is called the “Embrace Neonatal MRI System,” and can be used on babies who weigh between 1 and 4.5 kg, have a head circumference of 38 cm or less, and do not have metallic or electronic implants (because the MRI could potentially cause them to malfunction, or heat up tissues near the implant).

The Embrace Neonatal MRI System doesn’t need to be kept in a radiofrequency-shielded room  –  it can stay right in the NICU, so vulnerable infants can be safely moved in and out. In the case of an emergency, a baby can be removed in under 30 seconds.

It also has a temperature-controlled incubator inside. In addition to providing warmth, this incubator restrains the baby, enabling medical professionals to take still images.

Importance of Neonatal MRIs

Previously, the main way of imaging neonatal brains/heads was through the use of an ultrasound. This is possible only in infants; because the bone plates of the skull are not yet fused together, the ultrasound can “see” through the soft spots between bones. However, ultrasounds are limited in what parts of the brain they can image. MRIs can allow medical professionals to see much more of the brain: this may be particularly useful in diagnosing conditions that result from early oxygen deprivation.

One such condition is hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), a brain injury caused by limited oxygen and/or blood flow to the baby’s brain during or around the time of birth. Once damage from HIE has occurred, it is permanent and can be very severe. It often leads to conditions such as cerebral palsy, developmental disabilities, and seizure disorders, among many others. Use of the Embrace Neonatal MRI System should make it possible for medical professionals to get a better idea of the extent and type of brain damage an infant has suffered, and then treat them accordingly.

Legal Help for Infant Brain Injuries

A number of medical mistakes and deviations from care standards can cause HIE and other brain injuries in infants. If you suspect that your baby suffered brain damage as the result of medical malpractice, we encourage you to reach out to the birth injury attorneys at Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers for a free case review. You may contact us in the following ways:

Free Case Review | Available 24/7 | No Fee Until We Win

Phone (toll-free): 866-598-5405
Press the Live Chat button on your browser
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