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The impact of the latest MR technology upgrade in a pediatric hospital

At The Queen Silvia Children's Hospital at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden, the Department of Radiology performs roughly 45,000 magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exams per year.1 This particular facility recently began updating their equipment in an attempt to modernize the department. Their goal was to improve their workflow and enhance their clinical services. As a result, they hope to create a safe and secure healing environment for their patients.

Upgrading the MRI scanner

In order to complete this process, the facility upgraded their MRI scanner, as well as their coils. The new system came with a platform that was designed to help facilities adapt to current and future advancements in MR imaging and featured new gradients. An additional benefit the facility received was a technology upgrade designed to improve image quality and increase signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) during the scan.1,2

The facility has been experimenting with a few different advanced techniques that may benefit from the new system and its technology. Certain techniques can help to avoid artifacts due to voluntary or physiologic motion while reducing magnetic susceptibility artifacts. One such technique uses a k-space filling pattern and then applies a motion correction post-processing algorithm. This is especially useful for imaging the cervical spine and the temporal bone with diffusion sequences.1 As a result of the scan enhancement provided by these techniques and the new technology, the hospital's MR department may see an improvement in their workflow.

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Upgrading the coils

The Queen Silvia Children's Hospital also ordered a couple of coils from the newest generation.1 The hospital is now fitted with a brand new anterior array and a 48-channel head coil, as well as the posterior array coil that sits inside the patient platform that is part of the scanner. These new coils are more lightweight, flexible and durable. In addition, they may lead to an increase in signal-to-noise ratio, which in turn may help provide detailed images of specific joints in high resolution.

Their new anterior array coil provides the advantages of being lightweight and flexible.1 With the increased flexibility provided by these new coils compared to the previous generations, the technologists can more easily position the patient and the coil itself. This is especially true when they have to conduct a fetal imaging exam. The flexibility of the coil allows the patient to lay on her side instead of her back, which was often uncomfortable for patients in the late stages of pregnancy. The coil can then be wrapped around the patient. This helps the patients to be comfortable, as well as safe and secure, throughout their time at the hospital.

Because the coil can wrap around the desired body part, the field-of-view, or the area being imaged, can extend farther while maintaining a homogeneous signal.1 A more homogeneous signal can lead to better image quality, especially in musculoskeletal imaging, such as that of the shoulder, arm or lower extremities. The increased field-of-view can also help when imaging certain diseases that require imaging of both legs simultaneously.

The patients at The Queen Silvia Children's Hospital may see an improvement in their care and comfort with both the new coils and the new MR system. Alongside the new system, the hospital may begin to conduct more advanced imaging techniques, like the one that reduces artifacts from motion. As the department becomes accustomed to the new system and word spreads, they may begin to see an influx in patients who are comfortable and confident with the hospital.

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References:

  1. Transforming the MR imaging experience for one of Sweden's largest pediatric hospitals. SIGNA Pulse of MRhttp://www.gesignapulse.com/signapulse/spring_2019/MobilePagedArticle.action?articleId=1488813&app=false#articleId1488813. Last accessed August 8, 2019.
  2. GE Highlights Latest MRI Technology at RSNA 2016. itnonline.comhttps://www.itnonline.com/content/ge-highlights-latest-mri-technology-rsna-2016 Last accessed August 8, 2019.