SEARCH
Current Location:
>
> This Story

starstarstarstarstar (1)
Log in or Register to rate this News Story
Forward Printable StoryPrint Comment

Never Miss a Story

Sign up for email alerts

 

More Industry Headlines

Hip fracture surgery reduces health care costs First study to look at societal impact

New technology can spot tiny strains in body tissues before injuries happen Imaging technology needs to get up to speed first

ACR calls for virtual colonoscopy coverage Coverage of fecal DNA testing set new precedent

First organ grown in animal using lab-created cells May be the foundation for thymus transplant treatment

Report suggests slow progress integrating electronic records with useful analytics Hospitals and vendors alike struggle to aggregate meaningful data

August's New Product Showcase This month's roundup of the latest industry products.

Video game console improves MS patients' balance MR shows changes in their brains

Simplified EHR alerts reduce hospital-acquired UTI infections Underscores need for simpler alerts

Medical imaging technology industry brings benefits to Washington Propels their economy and job market

Global laparoscopy device market will hit $12.3 billion Advances in ease of use and ergonomics

GE sets sights on MRI helium conservation

by Brendon Nafziger , DOTmed News Associate Editor

In addition to the 5 million liters used in production, roughly 6 million liters are also used in maintenance of devices already in hospitals and clinics.

Jarvis said newly installed magnets need to be "topped up" with a couple of hundred liters of helium that are lost during transit (the longer the transportation, the more helium is evaporated). However, thanks to technology developed over 15 years ago, modern magnets generally don't need routine helium infusions, Jarvis said.
Story Continues Below Advertisement

Can a small footprint have a big impact in DR?

The Multix Select digital radiography (DR) system's floor mounting, table integrated generator & small footprint can accommodate even the smallest clinical setting while maintaining diagnostic confidence. Click for more info




Zeroing in

Routine helium infusions are unneeded because in the late 1990s, GE introduced so-called zero boil-off technology to its MRIs, Jarvis said. In this, helium that evaporates from heat in the magnet is recondensed and returned to the system.

"It stays as a closed cycle system. No helium is required to be added," Jarvis said.

By 2004, GE was selling exclusively zero boil-off technology MRIs, Jarvis said. However, even these "zero boil-off" magnets might need occasional small amounts of helium when the coldhead compressors, used to recondense the gas, are serviced every couple years. They can also need substantially more helium if a power outage causes the cooling systems to crash, resulting in larger boil-offs. This is a danger that besets magnets in countries with less reliable electricity delivery services, Jarvis said.

Also, not all MRIs in operation today were built post-2004. Many "legacy" machines are still working, either in their original place of installation or having been resold to a new buyer, often in another country. Jarvis estimates maybe 20 percent of systems are running with the pre-zero-boil-off technology.

"Old magnets simply never die," he jokes.

Conservation efforts

In his testimony, Rauch said GE has invested about $1 million in technology in its factory to bolster helium recycling and conservation. One investment was in recapturing equipment, used to snag helium lost in the manufacturing process, which is then recompressed and sold back to the gas suppliers at the factory.

Jarvis said the company's also working on proprietary efficiency-boosting techniques. For instance, workers might pre-cool a magnet with liquid nitrogen, which is cheaper and easier to get, before filling it with helium. He said they have also been running computer dynamic fluid simulations to study how liquid helium is transferred and used, and have committed some engineering know-how to improving the transfer lines from the tankers to the magnet.

"The transfer lines can be heavily optimized, in terms of material construction, control systems, to best match them to the end vehicle, the magnet that's receiving the helium," he said.

Continue reading GE sets sights on MRI helium conservation...
<< Pages: 1 - 2 - 3 >>

Related:


Interested in Medical Industry News? Subscribe to DOTmed's weekly news email and always be informed. Click here, it takes just 30 seconds.
(229)
(9)
(133)

Marshall Shannon

They can also need substantially more helium if a power outage c

May 17, 2012 10:41

This allows these magnets to consume more than a NON-ZERO boil off system. As during outages the usage is 10-40% more loss than any magnet on the market.

GE does a GREAT job when all systems are 100% but power outages do happen.

A normal system loses power for a 3 day weekend and they lose 3-8% so on Monday you have a big loss and some emergency planning.

On a GE Zero, that same 3 day weekend may cost you up to 20-30% and possibility a quenched magnet by the time monday rolls around so GE systems DO require DAILY MONITORING to catch failures fast, even if that monitoring system costs in excess, the potential risk without it exceeds any cost it may have.

Log inor Register

to rate and post a comment

You Must Be Logged In To Post A Comment

Access and use of this site is subject to the terms and conditions of our LEGAL NOTICE & PRIVACY NOTICE
Property of and Proprietary to DOTmed.com, Inc. Copyright ©2001-2014 DOTmed.com, Inc.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED