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Disinfection protocols for MR coils are more important than ever

by Lisa Chamoff, Contributing Reporter | September 02, 2020
MRI Parts And Service
A GE coil from Innovatus Imaging
From the September 2020 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

The novel coronavirus caused a sharp drop in imaging exams that facilities and imaging centers have seen beginning to recover. At the same time, cleaning equipment, including coils, is more important than ever to prevent the transmission of infection.

We asked industry experts about how imaging centers and departments can ensure their coils are properly sterilized while ensuring a long life for this sensitive and critical equipment.

‘Robust’ disinfection
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Coil manufacturer ScanMed has always had a “robust” disinfection policy.

“We’ve ramped this up with the presence of COVID-19,” said Natalie Hussey, ScanMed’s marketing manager

Before distributing its products, the manufacturer cleans everything, including the cable; and it instituted a mask and gloves policy back in February.

As a regular best practice, it’s recommended that facilities perform a thorough cleaning and disinfection upon receipt of any medical device to ensure the safety of healthcare professionals and their patients, said Jason Brownley, R&D manager for MR coils at Innovatus Imaging, even though companies like Innovatus always thoroughly clean and disinfect each coil upon arrival at its facility and ship products in new boxes using new packing materials.

Hussey recommends cleaning the coils both before and after they are used with a patient.

Ray McClellan, president of MRI Technical Services Inc., which provides parts sales and coil repair, noted that it’s important to adhere to the OEM guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting all of the items that come into contact with the patients.

“The OEMs all have specific recommendations for cleaning and disinfecting all of the items which come into contact with the patients, and we recommend that all customers adhere to those guidelines” McClellan said.

When cleaning coils, Philips recommends that customers use a soft cloth dipped in neutral soap or detergent to wipe the surface to remove dirt or contaminants, and then use a dry soft cloth to dry the surface, said Rob Stevens, service operations leader for services and solutions delivery for Philips North America.

For positioning straps, the company recommends using a neutral soap or detergent — they can be machine washed at 40 degrees Celsius/104 degrees Fahrenheit or lower — and to use only after drying. When cleaning the digital coil plug, Philips recommends using alcohol, a soft cloth and cotton swabs to remove dirt or contaminants.

Philips’ recommended disinfectants include isopropanol at 70%, ethanol at 70%, chlorhexidine at 0.5% in 70% ethanol, or 1:200 bleach solution (5 milliliters of bleach in 1 liter of water). A soft cloth should be used with the recommended disinfectant to wipe the equipment surface. When using ethanol, the device needs to be air dried. When using a chlorine-containing disinfectant or a bleach solution, a soft cloth dipped in clean water should be used to clean the residual chlorine disinfectant from the device, then air-dried or wiped dry with a dry soft cloth.

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