Common MRI Scanner Problems to Watch Out For

Posted by Radmin on February 15th, 2020

It's very frustrating when your MRI scanner experiences downtime just when you're attending to your patients. You have no choice but to reschedule and call in a repair technician.

Downtime can affect your entire practice, from scheduling to providing a diagnosis. It also means paying for repair costs and losing revenues. To avoid these issues, get to know some of the common MRI scanner problems and what you can do to prevent further damage.

Power Issues

MRI machines experience power issues due to a variety of reasons. These range from out-of-date software to an electrical surge caused by a storm.

While weather-induced outages are beyond your control, you can at least ensure that you're using circuit breakers. As for outdated software or other internal computer glitches, remember to perform regular updates and maintenance to prevent errors from happening.

Malfunctioning Cold Heads

MRI machines produce a massive static magnetic field that's used for imaging. Creating it requires lots of energy, which generates intense heat.

MRI chillers are used to keep the temperature under control, in addition to several cooling mechanisms that are put in place. These include a component called the cold head. It recondenses the helium gas that cools the machine's magnet.

Because of the tremendous amount of work that they do, cold heads tend to lose around 10% of their cooling capability each year. This reduces their recondensing margin.

The recondensing margin refers to the cold head's performance measurement. As it approaches zero, it's recommended to replace the component as soon as possible. Failure to do so will cause a magnet quench, which is a costly problem that can put your MRI machine out of use for some time.

The signs of a faulty cold head include intense vibrations, loud noises, and inadequate cooling. Watch out for these indications, so you'll know if you need to replace the component. Routine preventative maintenance performed by a trained technician is also recommended to ensure proper function.

Insufficient Cooling

MRI machines require accurate temperature control to run smoothly. If any of the cooling components break down, your system will lock up and prevent scanning until it cools down again.

Various reasons can cause weak cooling action. One of these is low helium levels, which you can check with proper monitoring and adjustment.

Another culprit of inadequate cooling is a faulty cold head, as already mentioned. But, if the helium levels are excellent and the cold head is running without a hitch, it's likely that the MRI chiller system isn't pumping enough water through the machine. Regardless of the cause, it's best to call a trained technician to resolve the issue.

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