Yale School of Medicine, tech company collaborate to create portable MRI

Connecticut-based Hyperfine Research has teamed up with the Yale School of Medicine in a bid to release the first portable, low-cost MRI system.

The Ivy League institution is now testing out the transportable tool in the neuro intensive care unit of Yale New Haven Hospital. It’s doing so as part of a two-year study being conducted along with the American Heart Association, Hyperfine announced on Monday, Oct. 14.

“The MRI systems we currently use around the world require a strict, limited access environment due to their high-field magnet design,” Kevin Sheth, MD, professor of neurology and neurosurgery, said in a statement. “The result is that we’ve taken a very safe technology and made it very difficult for patients and clinicians to access it. I’m excited to be part of a project that is finding a way to bring MRI to patients in a feasible, safe and efficient way."

Yale has now used the bedside MRI to complete 138 exams on 123 different patients for conditions that include acute neuropathology, ischemic stroke, hematomas, tumors and hydrocephalus. Sheth noted that the provider has been able to test some patients with multiple MRIs in a matter of hours, opening up access to a richer set of data that will hopefully improve the quality of care down the line.

Hyperfine has not yet made the portable MRI commercially available in the U.S., as it’s still awaiting FDA approval. They hope to release results from the trial in early 2020.