World’s First MRI Scanner for Preemies 

The world’s first MRI machine built specifically for imaging of premature and older infants, has was unveiled at Shaare Zedek.

The device, called the Embrace system (designed by an Israeli firm) was installed in the hospital’s Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in November. The Embrace device makes it possible to perform high-quality MRI tests without endangering the fragile babies. Tiny neonates sleep comfortably while held in a soft brace during the scan and they do not require anesthetic to eliminate movement during the scan. This minimizes medication that the babies require, improves the imaging results so that more accurate information about brain structure, identification of risks, and ability to provide optimal treatment are provided.

The device was specifically installed in the neonatal department so the tiny patients do not have to be moved from the unit to the hospital’s regular MRI suite, and the temperature can be kept warm as needed by the device and for the environmental comfort of premature babies. The medical staff remain close to patient during the examination itself, unlike a conventional MRI device, which requires the technicians to sit in a separate room.

Shaare Zedek delivers over 22,000 infants a year – more than any other hospital in the western world. Thus, it was a natural fit for Shaare Zedek to be the site of the world’s first MRI unit for infants.

Senior Neonatologist Dr. Alona Bin-Nun explains how the machine works and it's importance in this short clip