The Philips convertible
Achieva XR

Ohio Hospital First to Upgrade Philips Convertible MRI

October 12, 2009
by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor
A hospital in Ohio has been the test site for what Philips Healthcare claims is one of the first of its kind: an MRI conversion.

Last year, MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, a hospital affiliated with Case Western Reserve University, was the first location to upgrade its Philips Achieva XR MRI from a 1.5 to 3 Tesla strength magnet.

This conversion now allows the health center to "take advantage of advanced imaging techniques like spectroscopy and diffusion/perfusion scanning," Steve Mitchell, senior director of MR at Philips, tells DOTmed News.

Philips claims its Achieva XR line is one of the first fully convertible MRI platforms on the market.

Typically, if a hospital were to change magnets with what Mitchell calls a "fork-lift upgrade," it would require de-installing the current platform, re-shielding the room, and putting in a brand new scanner.

But Philips says converting the Achieva XR is easy, and compared to a new installation could save hospitals around $750,000.

For one, the shielding for the 1.5T model is built to withstand 3T, so most of the upgrade is just ramping up, and switching out, parts.

"The upgrade simply ramps the magnet from 1.5T to 3T and changes the 1.5T RF coils for 3T versions. The RF amplifier in the equipment room would also be swapped to a 3T version," Mitchell explains.

And Philips says the total time for conversion is only one week.

Moving to a 3T can expand the range of clinical applications, according to Mitchell. It doubles the signal-to-noise ratio, allowing sharper image quality, and lets practitioners go into specialties such as functional neuroimaging.

Because the Achieva XR is new, Mitchell believes it'll be at least a couple of years before other sites will follow suit and exchange their magnets.

"The expectation is that you would operate at 1.5T for 24 to 36 months before making the upgrade," he explains.