New method for diagnosing pulmonary diseases in children
The Clinic for Children and Young Adults of the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen and the Siemens Medical Solutions Group have developed a new method for diagnosing pulmonary disease in children.

Children can be examined under an open magnetic resonance tomograph (MR) without radiation.

A study of 150 young patients confirmed that the high-resolution images have a diagnostic reliability equal to that of a radiograph.

Radiographs of the thorax account for a considerable portion of radiological examinations in paediatrics. To evaluate the course of a disease, frequent repeat examinations are necessary, in particular with pulmonary diseases such as asthma, pneumonia, tuberculosis and mucoviscidosis.

The fact that the radiation sensitivity of children is four times higher than that of adults called for the development of a safe, fast and at the same time diagnostically highly differentiated alternative to conventional radiography.

The low-field MR systems Magnetom Open and Concerto represent a system class which offers the performance parameters necessary to solve the problems existing to date in magnetic resonance imaging of the lungs.

The low-field MR system Magnetom Open and its successor Magnetom Concerto, which has a field strength of 0.2 Tesla, combine the advantages of an open MR system with the image quality of a high-field system.

By using powerful gradients these systems achieve exposure times previously only for high-field systems.

The so-called TrueFisp technology developed by Siemens provides fast and continuous image information.

This unique combination provides the radiologist with high-quality images of the thorax within seconds.

While containing the same image information as radiographs, the images also supply differentiated tissue information.

The open, patient-friendly C-shape of the system is particularly suited for use in paediatrics, but also allows the examination of claustrophobic patients who were previously unable to undergo MR scans.

The suitability of this new method was successfully tested on 150 patients in a clinical study.

Dr Thomas Rupprecht, a paediatrician at the Clinic for Children and Young Adults at Friedrich-Alex-ander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, said: "Tog-ether with Siemens we have succeeded in developing a method which will establish itself as a first-line examination method for paediatric patients with pulmonary diseases."

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