by Lisa Chamoff
, Contributing Reporter | October 04, 2019
From the October 2019 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
While the magnet is the heart of an MR scanner, the coils are the veins that keep the blood flowing.
We asked coil manufacturers and independent service organizations to provide their tips to keep coils running smoothly and extending their life.
Handle with care
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“Many coils are bulky, heavy and fragile,” said Ray McClellan, president of MRI Technical Services Inc. “Lifting [or] moving them by just grabbing any available handle can cause physical damage.”
Heavy coils should be lifted from the bottom of the coil, said Harry Klijn, senior product manager for MRI at Philips, and two-part coils — a head coil, for example — should never be lifted from the top portion of the coil.
Also, take care in how cables are positioned.
“Many coils come in with internally broken wires in the cables from repeatedly being bent too sharply in the same place,” McClellan said. “Try to position cables in the least stressful position available in accordance with the OEM safety recommendations.”
Ted Lucidi, a technical and clinical specialist for Innovatus Imaging, notes that flex coils should always be cradled from the bottom, gripped at the center housing or carried by the designated handle.
"They should never be carried by the flexible portion, as there are sensitive components contained within that can be damaged by doing so," Lucidi said.
When transporting coils between rooms, Lucidi highly recommends using a cart.
Follow OEM guidelines
“One of the most effective ways to increase longevity is ensure that best-practices and OEM guidelines are being followed,” Lucidi said.
Lucidi recommends that service engineers perform a “care and handling assessment” by assessing when and how often the coils are visually inspected by the technologists, and how they are stored, transported and cleaned.
“Even go as far as to observe how the coil’s cables are routed during setup and how the patient is positioned and re-positioned,” Lucidi said. “This can be easily performed without anyone’s notice during routine visits to the department.”
Follow up with managers by requesting 15 to 30 minutes during a routine department meeting to review findings, and spend time discussing best practices, Lucidi said. Provide, as well as solicit, ideas for improvement to reduce damage.
Klijn recommends storing coils in a designated coil caddy or on shelves so that cables are looped, not bent, and not hanging free from the shelf, with a dedicated place on a shelf or coil caddy so that they aren’t stacked on top of each other.