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Portable MRI for major sporting events -- a case study on the MotoGP World Championship

J.M. Algar\'inT. Guallart-NavalE. Gastalda-Orqu\'in ...+10 J. Alonso
Mar 2023
The goal of this work is to showcase the clinical value that portable MRI canprovide in crowded events and major sports competitions. We temporarilyinstalled a low-field and low-cost portable MRI system for extremity imaging inthe medical facilities of the Ricardo Tormo Motor Racing Circuit during thefour days of the Motorcycle Grand Prix held in Valencia (Spain), which closedthe 2022 season of the MotoGP. During this time, we scanned 14 subjects,running a total of 21 protocols for wrist, knee and ankle imaging. Eachprotocol included a minimum of one T1-weighted 3D-RARE sequence for generalanatomical information, and one 3D-STIR sequence to highlight fluidaccumulation and inflammation. The circuit medical staff were able to visualizea number of lesions and conditions in the low-field reconstructions, includinggonarthrosis, effusion, or Haglund's syndrome, as well as metallic implants andtissue changes due to surgical interventions. Out of eight low-fieldacquisitions on previously diagnosed lesions, only two (a meniscus tear and aBaker cyst) were not detected by the experts that evaluated our images. Themain highlight was that a low-field MRI scan on a subject reporting pain in awrist revealed a traumatic arthritis which an X-ray radiograph and visualinspection had missed. We have operated in a scenario where high-field MRI isunlikely to play a role but where a low-field system can lead to improvedmedical attention. In the case reported here, system transport, installation inthe circuit facilities and calibration were all uncomplicated. The imagespresented to the medical staff were mostly unprocessed and there is thus roomfor improvement. In conclusion, this work supports the claim that low-field MRIcan likely provide added value whenever concepts such as accessibility,portability and low-cost outweigh exquisite detail in images.