2020 was a rough year for everyone. At Mazree, we want to start 2021 on a lighter note. So here we showcase some of the most innovative and fascinating medical equipment we heard about back in 2020.
The Swoop™ portable MRI system
We think the Swoop™ portable MRI system was one of the best medical equipment pieces we've seen this year! The portable MRI functions like a normal-sized MRI, but this fascinating machine is just half the size of a regular one and can be used to take images of the brain or limbs. The portable MRI can be taken to the patient's bedside to perform scans, making this a great way to reduce waiting times and improve accessibility in hospitals.
The Swoop™ portable MRI system received 510(k) clearance by the FDA in early 2020, and recently news came about that Tampa General Hospital was the first hospital in Florida to be using the Swoop™. So, the technology is already making its way into US hospitals. You can find the full article about the Swoop™ portable MRI system here.
Being exposed to radiation during a scan is a big concern because of the apparent cancer risk - the cancer risk may be small, but the risk still exists. Therefore, imaging systems need to be refined to minimize the radiation exposure during these essential diagnostic scans.
The ControlRad trace system precisely does that! The ControlRad trace system blocks unnecessary radiation exposure emitted from C-arms when they take medical images. In September 2020, ControlRad announced that they received 510(k) clearance by the FDA to use ControlRad trace on OEC 9900 mobile C-arms.
The ControlRad system is a versatile piece of equipment that can be easily fitted onto existing C-arm models to decrease radiation exposure. A tablet, image processing technology, and a filter are included in the ControlRad trace system. Find out about the ControlRad system by clicking here.
CT Scan with lower radiation
Researchers based at University College London (UCL) in the UK have developed a novel Computed Tomography (CT) method that has reduced radiation exposure compared to traditional methods. The research study titled "Cycloidal Computed Tomography" was published in Physical Review Applied in July 2020.
The novel method splits up the C-ray beam into small and thin beamlets, and thus the CT scanner emits a lower dose of radiation. Although the CT scanner emits a lower dose of radiation, the image quality isn't compromised at all. In fact, the cycloidal computer tomography method could produce images superior to current imaging techniques used in clinics and hospitals around the world.
The researchers suggest that this method could build-upon current imaging techniques to get higher-quality images to help diagnose diseases more efficiently and quickly while minimizing the patient's radiation risk.
FastMRI was developed by the Facebook AI team and NYU Grossman school of medicine. The fastMRI combines Artificial Intelligence (AI) with MRI imaging technology. The developers of the fastMRI created a neural network that was trained using data from previous knee scans.
In a study conducted by the fastMRI team, it was found that MRI scans created with AI were on par with conventional MRIs. Radiologists were able to diagnose health conditions regardless of the method used. Interestingly, the team found that fastMRIs could take scans much quicker, and the scan images were of higher quality than traditional MRIs.
The team suggests that knees could be imaged in 10 minutes maximum if AI technology were to be used in hospitals in the future. Therefore, AI-driven MRI scans are just as useful as traditional MRIs for diagnostic imaging purposes. The AI technology used in fastMRIs could be a game-changer!
To read the full article about fastMRIs, click here.
4D MRI for fetal heart imaging
This next bit of medical equipment is quite fascinating! A group of researchers from King's College London in the UK have developed 4D MRI technology capable of imaging fetal hearts. The paper titled "Fetal whole heart blood flow imaging using 4D cine MRI" was published in Nature Communications in October 2020.
The technology works by patching together several 3D images into cine loops to simulate a heartbeat. With the 4D MRI tech, now cardiologists can observe fetal blood flow, something which wasn't easily done with previous fetal imaging techniques. This novel 4D MRI technology has vast applications. It could easily be used to diagnose congenital heart disease in fetuses and help with disease management more rapidly than usual. We hope these 4D MRIs make their way into clinics as soon as possible because the technology is quite impressive!