Wakefield heart mum praises revolutionary MRI baby incubator

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The benefits of a revolutionary MRI Baby Incubator at the Leeds Children’s Hospital have been praised by a mum from Wakefield as it’s also transforming the way doctors look after babies with congenital heart disease.

The MRI Baby Incubator is a ground-breaking alternative to established paediatric MRI scans. It’s the only one of its kind in the UK for babies with congenital heart disease, and Leeds is the first hospital in Europe to provide the facility for heart MRI scans.

The incubator allows babies to have an MRI scan of the heart without the need for a general anaesthetic, they can be asleep during the process and it allows them to be transported directly from the ward into the MRI department thus minimising potential distress.

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Little Kenzi Lee Burden, from Wakefield, was diagnosed with complex congenital heart disease at mum Gemma’s 20-week scan, and says his MRI scan was a calm experience.

Little Kenzi Lee Burden, from Wakefield, was diagnosed with complex congenital heart disease at mum Gemma’s 20-week scan,Little Kenzi Lee Burden, from Wakefield, was diagnosed with complex congenital heart disease at mum Gemma’s 20-week scan,
Little Kenzi Lee Burden, from Wakefield, was diagnosed with complex congenital heart disease at mum Gemma’s 20-week scan,

“Dr Malenka explained everything to us before the MRI and showed us how the baby pod is transported to the MRI which doesn’t disturb the baby,” Gemma said.

"They also have ear defenders so it’s not as noisy and the team pushes them up and down the corridor until they fall asleep."

The results of these ‘feed and wrap’ scans allow doctors to get more comprehensive information than ever before so they can tailor treatment plans to the needs of each individual, which is particularly important in complex cases.

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Gemma says the babypod MRI really helped doctors diagnose and subsequently her baby and would have no hesitation in recommending the procedure.

Gemma says the babypod MRI really helped doctors diagnose and subsequently her baby and would have no hesitation in recommending the procedure.Gemma says the babypod MRI really helped doctors diagnose and subsequently her baby and would have no hesitation in recommending the procedure.
Gemma says the babypod MRI really helped doctors diagnose and subsequently her baby and would have no hesitation in recommending the procedure.

“They can get as many pictures as they need. They get clear pictures and baby is settled. We were told the results after the MRI so you find the results out straight away.

"Definitely have it done - baby doesn’t feel anything and they are asleep and settled all the way through it - no need to worry. I just want to say a big thank you for funding this amazing baby pod it makes an MRI so much easier for babies.”

The equipment was provided by Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF), thanks to additional funders including the Morrisons Foundation, Heart Research UK and Ilkley Round Table.

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Dr Malenka Bissell, Consultant in congenital cardiac MRI at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, worked with clinicians in the US on the science behind the equipment, and has overseen countless baby MRI scans since she introduced it into clinical practice at Leeds 4 years ago.

Kenzi Lee Burden,Kenzi Lee Burden,
Kenzi Lee Burden,

Dr Malenka said: “I am so excited that we can now image the heart in the same way we can imaging the brain already – without needing a general anaesthetic. This has transformed how we look after our babies in the high risk clinic.

"The high-risk clinic time is a time of huge uncertainty for parents. Doing the baby pod MRI scan at 2-3 months of age helps us formulate likely treatment plans much earlier than previously. Some of our high risk babies previously were too fragile to have an MRI scan under general anaesthetic and we were only able to CT scan which is missing crucial information about blood flow.

"Now all of our high risk clinic babies – no matter how fragile – can benefit from the baby pod.”

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