Ultra Low Field Portable MR Systems and Applications
Portable MR (Magnetic Resonance)
Devices do not currently exist for medical applications. We are currently developing a set of these devices to be used in a clinical environment. NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) has a major impact in the medical field through MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). However MRI not always useable or necessary. Certain locations, such as the ICU normally are unable to use MRI in their management of patient care. We have currently identified three potential areas for portable MR systems.
LDM (Lung Density Monitor)
This is a portable Magnetic Resonance (MR) device for regional measurements of lung density in patients who suffer from Acute Lung Injury (ALI). The device is intended for use in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with patients who are on ventilators. The LDM device consists of a one-sided magnet, an RF coil, a small collection of rack-mounted electronic equipment and a mounting system for the magnet. The magnet creates a spatially localized homogenous magnetic field region located ~10cm remotely from the magnet surface. The spatial localization is provided by both the magnetic field and the RF coil and defines a target region from which an NMR signal is derived. In many ways, the device can be thought of as similar to a stethoscope, where different regions may be interrogated by moving the device around on the chest. If successful, this device will facilitate the management of critically ill patients with ALI.
BPM (Brain Perfusion Monitor)
This is a hand-held MR device similar in nature to the LDM but with a smaller magnet. The BPM can be used to measure perfusion in the brain using a spatially localized NMR signal that can penetrate approximately 2 cm below the surface of the scalp. If successful, this device will help in the management of critically ill patients with central nervous system injuries, such as stroke and traumatic brain injuries.
VS (Ventilation Stethoscope)
This device is very similar to the LDM, but is intended to be used on neonates which are on ventilator support. As the neonate is much smaller than the human adult, a smaller device is necessary. The low signal intensity due to the tiny lung volume is boosted by using hyper-polarized gas. Thus this device measures ventilation, a complimentary analog to lung density. If successful, the device will allow the measurement of regional ventilation to aid physicians in the management of ventilators.