Pakistan's first intraoperative MRI launches at AKU

MN Report 12:26 PM, 15 Sep, 2022
Pakistan's first intraoperative MRI launches at AKU

KARACHI: Pakistan became the first to utilise Hyperfine's Swoop portable magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment (AKU).

This is the first intraoperative MRI performed in Pakistan and the first time the Swoop system has been utilised in this capacity anywhere in the world.

AKU obtained the Swoop system in 2021 as part of the MUMTA Trial, financed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and led by Dr Fyezah Jehan. 

This study used portable MRI equipment to measure the brain development of newborns and infants at their bedside, examining the effect of dietary supplements provided to pregnant women on the brains of newborns and infants.

Dr Ather Enam, a renowned neurosurgeon at AKU, describes intraoperative MRI usage as a "gap between the haves and the have-nots, between industrialised nations and poor nations." 

This technology is globally linked with high prices, space utilisation difficulties, and the necessity for specialised training.

Intraoperative MRIs are in high demand because they allow neurosurgeons to see areas of the brain that are not visible to the naked eye during surgical procedures; after the removal of a tumour, the surgeon can immediately take an MRI to determine if there is a significant residual portion of the tumour and if there is, the surgeon can continue removing the tumour. At the same time, the wound remains sterile, and the patient remains under anaesthesia.

"With its tiny footprint, cheap cost, simple mobility, user-friendliness, and low magnetic field (0.064 Tesla)," stated Dr Enam, "Hyperfine's MRI has broken through the barrier between high-income and low-income nations' provision of high-quality patient treatment for improved health outcomes."

In this particular instance, a middle-aged man had a pituitary tumour that affected his eyesight. Due to the lack of alternative therapy choices, the patient required brain surgery. 

Upon excision of the tumour, the surgical team utilised the Swoop system and were relieved to find no problems. The method enabled surgeons to make this decision confidently, reducing the patient's risk.

AKU alumnus Dr Khan Siddiqui, MBBS Class of 1996, who is currently Hyperfine's chief medical officer and chief strategy officer, says, "We are thrilled to see AKU advancing the science of ultra-low-field MRI and contributing to our global health mission of enhancing global access to the diagnostic benefits of MR neuroimaging."



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