FDA nod for Siemens MRI software to reduce time needed for brain imaging

Magnetom--Courtesy of Siemens

Brain MRIs, which account for roughly one out of four MRI exams, typically require at least 20 to 45 minutes to conduct. Now, a pair of new software applications from Siemens Healthcare ($SIE) aim to reduce that time dramatically--to only about 5 minutes. With 45 million brain MRIs expected globally this year, the new software could translate into massive cost savings for hospitals.

The FDA has cleared two applications, Simultaneous Multi-Slice (SMS) and GoBrain. The former reduces 2D image acquisition times by as much as a factor of 8 while the latter helps improve patient throughput by enabling clinically essential image orientations and contrasts with the push of a button.

"The Simultaneous Multi-Slice (SMS) and GoBrain applications … can enable our customers to dramatically cut MRI scan acquisition times and provide a significantly more patient-friendly brain MRI examination," said Murat Gungor, VP of Magnetic Resonance at Siemens Healthcare, in a statement.

SMS can acquire images simultaneously, rather than sequentially. It's expected to be particularly useful for patients with a limited tolerance for longer MRI scans, including pediatric or geriatric patients. It's also expected to improve surgical mapping and efficiency in the operating room during brain surgery.

The new software applications are both available on Siemens MRI machines including Magnetom Aera 1.5T and Magnetom Skyra 3T.

Shorter scan times could also enable the reduction in patient sedation, as well as limit the need for rescans necessitated due to movement--since shorter scan times are expected to be better tolerated by patients.

During its first fiscal quarter, Siemens reported $3.7 billion in Healthcare revenue. That's an increase of 15% over the same quarter a year earlier. It attributed that revenue growth to a rebound in imaging.

"We saw a record double-digit revenue growth which was driven by the diagnostics imaging business, which also dropped through nicely into the bottom line," summed up Siemens President and CEO Joe Kaeser on a January earnings call.

- here is the release