Low-field MRI is not new but was re-introduced to the market by Siemens in 2020 with its Free.Max 0.55 Tesla Scanner. Intended for rapid scans with a lot of artificial intelligence inside the Free.Max has now found its way to the wishlist of many interventional centers around the world. What’s happening?
On September 9th 2022, Dr Aimee Armstrong from Nationwide children’s (OH, USA) performed during PICS a stenting procedure of the IVC, using a Flexor guiding sheath and a stainless-steel stent (commercially available Medtronic Max LD stent) mounted on a Z-Med balloon (NuMed) with two passive MagnaFy markers from Nano4Imaging . The cardiac scanning sequences for the Free.Max were written by Orlando Simonetti from Ohio State University.
What is new? Well this is a commercially available scanner, which can use existing medical devices as shown before (Campbell-Washburn et al, 2019) and has much less safety and logistic concerns. In the end these low-field scanners could be in any department in any hospital around the globe.
What is needed? To do interventions, devices are needed. Now that the device safety is no longer an issue, existing devices need to be made visible and traceable so they can be maneuvered to its target. For this purpose our passive marker technology has shown to be an elegant and affordable solution that can be applied to most existing devices such as (balloon) catheters, sheaths or stents. The use of these markers in existing EmeryGlide guidewire and Z-med balloons in the live case shows its feasibility. Of course these modified devices need certification. Although most devices are safe to use in the low field MRI scanner this has to be tested before it can be labelled as MRI-safe. Regulatory pathways take time and effort, but doing this with existing devices will make the process a lot easier. As dr Armstrong noticed during her live case “I have never seen industry working so closely together to get this done”.