Tuesday, March 07, 2023

Cheaper MRIs

"Portable low-field scanners could revolutionize medical imaging in nations rich and poor -- if doctors embrace them". (Via A.A.)

I think this is an interesting development and these scanners have a role in niche applications. But as the article notes, only in areas where significant loss of resolution is acceptable for treatment purposes.

And there is also this issue, which would be of concern to many practicing physicians [bold emphasis mine]:

Still, the Swoop can miss details a high-field scanner would catch because its resolution of 1.5 millimeters is half that of a standard scanner. For example, Sheth’s team used it to image the brains of 50 patients who had had an ischemic stroke, visible with standard MRI. The Swoop missed the five smallest, millimeter-size strokes, the researchers reported in April 2022 in Science Advances.

That finding shows physicians will have to exercise judgment in deciding when to use each type of scanner, Sheth says. “You shouldn’t be too worried, but you should understand the context in which you might miss something,” he says. Still, McDowell notes doctors may shy away from a low-field scanner if they think using it could leave them open to a malpractice suit.