Washington County Memorial Hospital, has plans to install the county’s first Open Bore, 1.5 Tesla, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system in April 2018. This system includes a larger opening for obese and claustrophobic patients, an increased table capacity of 550 pounds, motion reduction software, and decreased scan times all while capturing high-field quality diagnostic images.
“This is going to increase our efficiency and patient convenience,” said Michele Meyer, CEO, Washington County Memorial Hospital. “The patient-friendly design of this magnet will make it easier for large patients and those with claustrophobia to have a MRI examination which produces higher quality images.”
“This advanced technology, added comfort, and shorter scan times will reduce repeat imaging for all patients” added Randy Dunn, director of Radiology, Washington County Memorial Hospital. “Maybe the best part of providing this new technology to our patients is the convenience of having the same advanced imaging capabilities as larger hospitals in our community.”
Since two-thirds of American adults are overweight, the health-care industry is challenged to accommodate these larger patients with imaging systems that were designed for people who weigh much less. Currently, patients too large to fit inside the bore of a high-field MRI magnet have image studies done in open MRI systems with low-field magnets. This limits the diagnostic usefulness of the images obtained. The field strength of a magnet is measured in units of Tesla – the higher the number, the higher the field strength. The higher the field strength, the better the quality of images produced.
Claustrophobic patients present another challenge for MRI systems. They can be sedated, adding to their inconvenience and the time it takes to schedule and perform an exam. With the new Open Bore design scanner many claustrophobic patients will be able to undergo their exam relaxed and without sedation.
The Siemens Medical Solutions MAGNETOM Espree to be installed in April 2018, at Washington County Memorial Hospital includes a bore opening of nearly 2.3 feet in diameter and almost one foot of free space between a patient’s head and the magnet. The Espree also features the shortest 1.5 Tesla magnet available. At approximately 4 feet long the magnet allows more than 60 percent of exams to be completed with the patient’s head outside the magnet, helping to ease claustrophobia.