Why MRI Machines Need to Be Maintained Continuously?

An MRI scan takes a large magnet, radio waves, and a computer to build a labeled, cross-sectional picture of interior organs and skeletons. Hospitals and health centers utilize MRI scans to interpret different types of conditions, from lacerated ligaments, mass to cancer. MRIs are very helpful for evaluating the spinal cord and brain. The individual lies on a table that slides inside a largely shaped device.

MRI

MRI

The uses of MRI in medicine:

The advancement of the MRI scan illustrates a huge landmark in the field of medicine. Physicians and investigators are now qualified to explore the interior of the human body in more advanced ways utilizing a non-invasive device. The following are some examples:

  • The abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord.
  • Tumors, mass, and other irregularities in several parts of the body.
  • In the diagnosis of breast cancer for women who have an increased risk of breast cancer.
  • The traumas or anomalies of the joints, such as the back and knees.
  • To screen specific kinds of heart problems diseases of the liver, kidney, and other interior organs.
  • To the examination of pelvic pain in women, to rule out reasons including fibroids and endometriosis.
  • To evaluate for infertility if there are any uterine anomalies.

Non-medical use:

  • MRI is used industrially primarily for routine examination of chemicals.
  • To estimate the ratio between water and fat in foods, monitoring the flow of corrosive fluids in tubes, or researching molecular structures such as catalysts.
  • MRI can be used to review the anatomy of plants, their water transportation processes, and water balance.
  • In paleontology, it is used to examine the hierarchy of fossils.
  • Forensic imaging gives graphic documentation of a postmortem, which manual postmortem does not.

How safe is MRI?

  • The strong magnetic field of the MRI system can attract items made from certain metals. Therefore, care is carried out that outer objects such as ferromagnetic screwdrivers and oxygen tanks are not in the MRI system area.
  • The individual is not allowed to bring external hearing aids, watches, jewelry, mobile phones, and items of clothing that have metallic buttons, makeup, nail polish, or others that may contain metallic particles should be removed if applied to the area of the body undergoing the MRI examination
  • Safeguards can be carried. In some rare cases, due to the existence of an unsuitable implant or device, the exam may have to be terminated. Because there is a danger of the implant shifting and resulting in serious harm to the client.
  • A metallic implant or another item may result in signal loss or modify the MRI images making it difficult for the radiologist to detect the images correctly.
  • A contrast material known as a gadolinium contrast agent may be injected into a vein to help enhance the information seen on the MRI images. It rarely causes an allergic reaction or another issue. Still, if there is a history of kidney disease, kidney transplant, liver disease, or other conditions, it must be mentioned to the MRI technologist and/or radiologist before obtaining a gadolinium contrast agent.

MRI Orientation and Training Program

To confirm a safe and informed working environment, all MRI operators must obtain formal training. Each researcher and staff will obtain an orientation in the MRI facility by a walkthrough, an exhibition of the equipment, and safety procedures.

How important is it to keep MRI machines maintained correctly?

  • Because MRI software upgrades are frequent, as developments are always happening. Even if there are no latest upgrades, the system must have performed up to par and all its components should be working cohesively.
  • MRI scanners are very complex pieces of engineering that need to be cared for properly to avoid extensive damage.
  • To Make sure the appliance has a satisfactory warranty or assistance contract, be sure to know when it terminates. If the appliance does not come with a warranty, be sure that dealers are informed of any issues so that they can dispatch qualified engineers when experiencing problems with the machine.
  • There’s a very real risk of inappropriate diagnosis from an improperly working machine.

How much does the MRI repair cost?

It relies on the particular MRI system, the country, the level of maintenance that needs to be done, the maintenance vendor, and how much maintenance is delivered.MRI operators want to pay a fixed amount monthly to a service provider and that provider covers all breakdown costs. Those MRI operators who want to pay for repairs on a time and materials basis will have different costs from one month to another. Regardless the operators must be sure that only a genuine MRI part and service provider is used to avoid any issues with the functionality of the equipment.

Some common MRI scanner problems and how to avoid them:

Power Issues

The more common complaint documented from MRI devices is a power outage that causes the operation to shut down and restart. The power problems vary from an energy surge caused by a storm to out-of-date software. The internal computer malfunctions, formal updates, and supervision can assist prevent mistakes from starting to occur in the first place.

Poor Image quality

As MRI scanner machines begin to age, the most common complaints relate to the quality of the pictures generated including artifacts in the image such as lines or graininess. The images may be impacted if there is damage to the coils. If routine maintenance aims at inspection and cleaning of these coils, these can help prevent any picture issues from arising. Coils can be fixed up, relatively inexpensively and directly.

Intense Vibration

The more common complaint of an MRI machine is the excessive vibrations that can cause loud noises in the machine. It brings a lot of energy and induces a lot of heat. To regulate the heat and enable the magnetic field to process, there are various cooling means. The MRI’s cold head is a repeatedly moving part of the machine so a badly conducting cold head will exemplify numerous symptoms such as intense vibrations, loud noises, and poor cooling. Keep track of the time since the cold head was replaced and listen for machine sounds to predict the need to repair or replace the cold head, routine preventative supervision performed by a trained engineer is the way to guarantee proper cold head function. 

Poor Cooling

An MRI machine needs exact temperature control to maintain a working atmosphere. If any of the cooling parts are malfunctioning, the MRI machine will lock up and prohibit scanning until the temperature is brought back down. Helium levels should be monitored and toped as needed. Most MRI machines will warn of low helium levels, and if it does, it is time to get it filled. If there is a problem with a cold head, it should be examined by a trained engineer.

Solutions for Common MRI Problems

MRI helium level is low

Fill helium instantly. The rate of helium burn-off rises as the amount of helium in the system reduces. Plan to refill when the helium percentage is in the 60s.

Prevention:  Some service providers can install a remote diagnostic unit on your MRI scanner that monitors its helium level and notify you when it is dropping.

Power Outages

Problems after storms can often be alleviated by resetting the breakers for the section of the building that houses the MRI.

Prevention: Use surge equipment and backup generators.

Image artifacts

MRI coils are quite easy to repair. Some repair dealers also offer spare coils that will help keep scanning going when the coil is in their shop for repair.

Prevention: watch out for the condition of the MRI coils periodically.

Heat exchanger temperature mistakes

The main thing is to find out who should be contacted for help. Begin with the heat exchanger. Test to detect if its LCD is lit. Several models also have breakers on them. The incoming water line should feel roughly the same temperature as a soda from the refrigerator. If the water provided into the heat exchanger is too warm, the problem is more likely in the chiller. In that case, contact the vendor that services the chiller.

Prevention: Do Regular check-ups on the MRI and the Chiller.  Also, it is better to already have a relationship with a certified service provider that has quick access to genuine replacement parts.

References

https://www.nibib.nih.gov/science-education/science-topics/magnetic-resonance-imaging-mri

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1121941/

McRobbie DW, Moore EA, Graves MJ, Prince MR (2007). MRI from Picture to Proton. Cambridge University Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-139-45719-4.

McDermott R, Lee S, ten Haken B, Trabesinger AH, Pines A, Clarke J (May 2004). “Microtesla MRI with a superconducting quantum interference device”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 101 (21): 7857–61. Bibcode:2004PNAS..101.7857M. doi:10.1073/pans.0402382101. PMC 419521. PMID 15141077.

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