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Tips for keeping your MR coils in top working order

par Lisa Chamoff, Contributing Reporter | September 08, 2021
From the September 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Technicians should also make sure not to let the cables drop and hit the floor when moving or carrying the coils.

“Many coils have RF traps on the cables and sudden shock can cause internal damage that can lead to coil heating and failure,” McClellan said. “For flex coils, avoid sharp bends in the coils when strapping around the patient. Just like tight cable bends, consistently folding flex coils at sharp angles in the same places will eventually break the internal conductors and cause the coil to become intermittent or to fail completely.”

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It is also critical to not leave coils, or unused coil sections, that are not connected sitting anywhere near the magnet bore while scanning. They must be plugged in to decouple from the transmitted RF, and can inadvertently be damaged if they are close enough,” McClellan said.

It’s important to read — and believe — the instruction manual, McClellan said.

“Many coils that are working properly are sent in with the complaint of patient heating,” McClellan said. “The truth is that nearly all coils dissipate significant amounts of heat during a scan. Manufacturers have many dos and don’ts about proper coil, cable and patient positioning in order to minimize and manage the heat that is produced. Excessive heating or even burning a patient is not always the fault of the hardware.”

Facilities should establish a well-communicated set of policies and best practices.

Clear policies “are the best methods of addressing failures within user control,” Lucidi said. “These would span practices related to periodic inspection, proper storage, transportation, patient placement, and cable routing practices as well as proper cleaning and disinfection processes.”

Proper storage is also important.

“Keep coils clean and stored in an individual storage location,” said Charlie Lewis, director of technical support operations for The Imaging Solutions Company. “Stacking them on a chair or the floor is not conducive to proper handling procedures.”

Regular MR service, within the manufacturer’s operational specifications, is also important for coils.

“A correctly calibrated machine doesn’t put any undue electronic stresses on the equipment,” Lewis said. “Request signal to noise ratio data on each coil to document and track coil performance. The end result will be a superior imaging product with minimization of early onset failures due to electronic stresses.”

Cleaning and disinfecting
Each OEM has its own specific recommendations for cleaning and disinfecting their items that come into contact with the patients, and service professionals recommend adhering to those guidelines.

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