Cincinnati Children’s is the only hospital in the United States to have a magnetic resonance (MR) unit in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). We feel this was important since babies are fragile, have trouble maintaining normal temperature, and do not handle loud noises well. Since placing the MR unit in the NICU, we have not had to transport these tiny patients out of that safe space and away from supportive doctors and nurses. This also allows us to image them sooner so that early diagnosis can lead to improved care and monitoring.
MR imaging is an excellent choice for these babies since it does not involve radiation. Ultrasound is also frequently used in the NICU to help direct their care. We try to limit exposure from radiation, which is present when we obtain x-rays and CT scans.
Photo: NICU patient before entering the MR unit.
We have performed over 550 MR exams on patients in the NICU. Many of these scans were used to evaluate the brain and spine; however, we know that babies have trouble with their lungs and bowel as well. Cincinnati Children’s is one of the first imaging centers to use MR scanning to look at the belly and chest of these infants. With the information obtained from these exams, we are learning more about how diseases affect these little people so we can monitor and provide appropriate care. At Cincinnati Children’s, we are working hard to change the outcome for our sick neonates.
Contributed by Dr. Beth Kline-Fath and edited by Janet Adams ((ADV TECH-US).