Baby Minnie makes history at The Royal Oldham Hospital with new MRI scan

Baby Minnie
Baby Minnie makes history at The Royal Oldham Hospital with new MRI scan
24 May 2016

BABY Minnie Macfarlane from Lees in Oldham made history when she was 11 days old.

Born on 11 March 2016, she was the first baby at The Royal Oldham Hospital to undergo a landmark scan using new equipment which allows new born babies to have MRI scans.

Previously new born babies would have had to have been transferred to another hospital Trust if they needed a MRI scan at such an early age, but thanks to the investment in the neonatal MRI compatible monitoring, babies can now be scanned in the radiology department at The Royal Oldham Hospital.

As the hospital cares for high risk infants who are transferred to the level three neonatal unit, for therapeutic cooling to reduce the risk of brain injury, MRI scanning is helpful to assess the risk of any long term problems.

MRI imaging of babies is a more complex procedure than the imaging performed in adults. The scanning parameters need to be optimised to enable detailed imaging of the small and newly developing brain and extra protection must also be provided to the infant to protect their developing organs.

Baby Minnie paved the way and underwent a scan modelling the aptly named mini-muff ear protectors which protect the ears from the loud noise that the scanner makes.

Dr Lydia Bowden, consultant neonatologist at The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The new service for scanning neonatal patients will greatly improve our assessment of babies at high risk of brain injury, and allow more detailed imaging for early diagnosis of problems, without the need for a transfer to a different hospital. Staff commented on what a model patient Minnie was. She did not need sedation as she slept soundly throughout following a feed.”

Dr Kandise Jackson, consultant radiologist at The Royal Oldham Hospital, added: “There are unique issues that must be addressed to develop an effective quantitative neonatal MRI technique, but through careful collaboration between the radiology department and neonatal unit at The Royal Oldham Hospital we are now able to offer this procedure to those new born babies who need it. We were very impressed with the images obtained and we hope to be able to offer MRI imaging to our neonatal patients who require this.”

Minnie’s parents, Sophie and Adam, said: “It was such a relief for Minnie to be able to undergo this scanning procedure at The Royal Oldham Hospital rather than her have to be taken somewhere else in the north west for this procedure to take place. Being in the hospital we were familiar with, alongside the neonatal team who were directly involved with Minnie’s care was a great comfort to us.”

Pictured above left to right: Adam Macfarlane, Minnie’s father; Dr Lydia Bowden, consultant neonatologist and Yvonne Memory, advanced practitioner radiology. Also pictured: Minnie models the mini-muffs ear protectors.