Indian American doctor and his team build a portable MRI machine


There is new “portable MRI machine” that is all set to hit the market that could change the way many diagnostics are done.

Thanks to Indian-American professor Kevin Sheth and his team of researchers at Yale University, whose new device can help identify critical medical symptoms, particularly in stroke patients, that can provide life-saving information.

When patients exhibit stroke symptoms, doctors are left with no time to make a life-or-death decision, Sheth said, explaining the need for fast diagnosis in such complicated cases, adding that some cases may warrant blood thinners to ease a clot in the brain while some may require surgery in case of bleeding in the brain.

“This decision can be a game-changer with the help of a portable MRI device that can help identify such intracranial hemorrhages; potentially life-saving information, particularly in areas or scenarios where access to sophisticated brain imaging scans are not readily available,” Sheth, professor of neurology and neurosurgery at Yale School of Medicine told reports.

He added, “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.

For the study, the Yale 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 the traditional MRI technologies.

“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.

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.

Specifically, the portable MRI was used to scan brain injury patients at the bedside.

Neuroradiologists interpreting images acquired by Hyperfine Research’s portable MRI correctly identified 80 percent 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.

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).

They are currently leading several national clinical trials on novel therapies that would affect this type of brain swelling.

Since 2013, Sheth has served as the founding chief of the Division of Neurocritical Care and Emergency Neurology and chief of Clinical Research for the Department of Neurology at the Yale School of Medicine.