Yale University has found in a study that a portable magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) device developed by Hyperfine Research could aid in detecting intracranial haemorrhages associated with stroke.

The Portable Point-of-Care MRI system provides potentially life-saving data, especially in areas or cases where access to advanced brain imaging scans is limited.

This latest MRI system can be moved down a hospital hallway, is cheaper than conventional MRI technologies and can be utilised virtually anywhere by minimally trained medical technicians, the scientists noted.

The research was chiefly funded by the American Heart Association, the National Institutes of Health, and Hyperfine Research, which is part of the medical technology incubator 4Catalyzer.

In the study, the team of researchers analysed the device’s efficacy by comparing the results of 144 patients obtained using portable MRI scans at Yale New Haven Hospital to results provided by standard neuroimaging scans.

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Moreover, the researchers used the portable MRI for the bedside scanning of brain injury patients.

Neuroradiologists who interpreted images obtained using Hyperfine’s MRI system were able to precisely detect 80% of intracerebral haemorrhages.

Yale School of Medicine neurology and neurosurgery professor Kevin Sheth said: “There is no question this device can help save lives in resource-limited settings, such as rural hospitals or developing countries.

“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 maximise the potential benefit of this approach.”

The latest study is the first research of its kind to establish the appearance and clinical implications of a brain haemorrhage by leveraging a portable MRI device, Yale scientists noted.

The team is currently examining the ability of portable MRI technologies in detecting and monitoring head trauma and brain tumours. They will also investigate the use of such devices in evaluating brain health in individuals with risk factors, including high blood pressure.