Philips scores FDA clearance for faster MRI scanning powered by AI

Philips has secured an FDA clearance for artificial-intelligence-powered software designed to speed up the MRI scanning process while still delivering high-resolution images. 

Dubbed SmartScan, Philips said the program can help complete scans up to three times faster with “virtually no loss in image quality,” allowing radiology departments to see more patients with the same hardware in about 97% of cases.

That covers a wide range of clinical protocols including the use of injected contrast agents as well as diffusion weighted imaging and quantitative scans of the brain, liver, heart and musculoskeletal system. It is also compatible with implants and can capture organs in motion or even a restless patient.

In addition, the AI approach—which helps remove noise from the source MR signal and works with Philips’ previously available Compressed SENSE analysis techniques—can be used to increase image resolution by up to 65%, the company said.

Faster scans will also help hospitals handle increasing caseloads, as more patients with diseases such as cancer are being referred for personalized treatments that require precision diagnostics. The clearance announcement was made ahead of the annual meeting of the European Congress of Radiology being held in Vienna this week.

Last year, Philips put forward a new MRI method that enabled total heart scans to be taken in less than one minute, or about the time it takes for a patient to hold a single breath.

Developed with researchers from the Spanish National Center for Cardiovascular Research for use in clinical studies, this ultrafast scanning technique digitally isolates the movement of the heart from the rest of the chest cavity and focuses the machine’s efforts on quickly imaging the pulsating organ.

And in November 2021, the company raised the curtain on a new portfolio of smart MRI machines equipped with AI programs to speed up image acquisition and diagnosis. Philips also unveiled a new scanner combining spectral CT with real-time, image-guided therapy hardware, plus software for control room consoles that guide technicians through a procedure.