Mobile MRI machine at University of Utah offers unique care

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SALT LAKE CITY – A new MRI system at the University of Utah Hospital is helping doctors give their patients better care, and officials with the neuroscience center say this technology can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

Rick Shumway, University of Utah Health Care, said the mobile MRI machine gives them better tools to treat patients with.

"This is a machine that allows us to take pictures real-time during surgery and during interventional procedures that essentially can change the course of the procedure,” he said.

The machine is being used on stroke and brain tumor patients, and it helps doctors get the information they need quickly.

Doctor Michael Wilder is an interventional neurologist, and he said the machine helps them tailor their treatments.

"We can tell if we need to do more, if we can back off,” he said. “Like I said, it really sort of helps us decide on our treatment."

Doctors said they can use the machine to determine the level of damage to a patient’s brain tissue during or immediately after a stroke.

The MRI system was hoisted into place in October of last year, and Wilder said it helps with an issue that is incredibly time sensitive.

“Stroke treatment has generally been based on strict time rules, so the faster you can get treated the better off patients do, and there have been some time windows imposed on treatment, so that you can't actually do anything after a certain amount of time," he said.

And Wilder said the system is unique to Utah.

"In terms of using this set up for stroke, we're the only place in the world that has this kind of set up and is using this for stroke,” he said.