FDA Clears First Neonatal Magnetic Resonance Imaging Device

Designed for NICUs, system negates moving babies within the hospital

Taking an infant out of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to go for imaging elsewhere in the hospital “presents great challenges,” says Vasum Peiris, MD, MPH. So the FDA has cleared the first magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) device specifically for neonatal brain and head imaging in NICUs

“Having a system in the neonatal intensive care enables safer imaging for this vulnerable patient population,” explains Dr. Peiris, chief medical officer for pediatrics and special populations at the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

The Embrace Neonatal MRI System (Aspect Imaging Ltd.) is designed specifically for imaging of the neonatal head. It may be used on neonates with a head circumference up to 38 cm and weight between 1 and 4.5 kg. The system has a temperature-controlled incubator placed directly into the MRI system, minimizing movement of the baby. If urgent access to the baby is necessary during the imaging process, the baby can typically be removed from the system in less than 30 seconds.

The Embrace Neonatal MRI System can be placed inside a NICU environment because the system does not require a safety zone or a radiofrequency shielded room. Since the system is fully enclosed, medical device implants in close proximity to the system are not required to be “MR Conditional” or “MR Safe.”

To avoid putting vulnerable patients at risk, the efficacy of the Embrace Neonatal MRI System was demonstrated primarily based on nonclinical testing, including images of phantoms simulating an infant brain that were determined to be of sufficient quality for diagnostic use by an independent board-certified radiologist. The safety of the Embrace Neonatal MRI System was demonstrated through performance testing, including a review of electrical and mechanical safety measures.

The Embrace Neonatal MRI System is contraindicated for patients weighing more than 4.5 kg or with a head circumference of more than 38 cm. It is also contraindicated for all infants with metallic or electronically active implants, since the MRI may cause tissue near the implant to heat or the implant to malfunction.

The Embrace Neonatal MRI System was reviewed through the premarket clearance (510(k)) pathway.

Source: FDA; July 20, 2017.