Top tips to get the most life from your MRI coils

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Top tips to get the most life from your MRI coils

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | September 09, 2011
From the September 2011 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

LeRoy Blawat, president of Resonant Diagnostics offered some key points to keep in mind when caring for coils.

He highlights hygiene, maintenance, storage and handling as the most important concerns that need to be addressed in order to get the most life out of your coils and to provide the best care for your patients.

Nick Hersman, associate product manager for Medrad, Inc. also contributed or confirmed points to the following list.

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Hygiene
• Keep coils clean to prevent the spread of blood borne pathogens and other contagions

• Wipe the coils down with a bleach/water solution or rubbing alcohol with a soft cotton cloth. Be sure to also wipe down external pads and the cable assembly

• Avoid using solvents that will dull or damage the finish of coils and pads.

• Keep MR tables clean to ensure good adhesion with the rubber pads on the bottom of coils

Maintenance
• Periodically tighten any screws visible on the cable

• Keep electrical connectors on coils free of dirt and debris by using compressed air to blow out electrical connectors where coil plugs in. Do NOT use the compressed air in the scan room

• Do not use Velcro as a means to "stiffen" up your electrical Connections - the hair from the Velcro can get pushed into the brushes of some connectors, preventing a good electrical connection. Instead, replace the parts of the cable or mating connectors as needed

• Inspect cable strain reliefs and cables for tears in the coating or exposed braid on inner coaxial cables

• Perform daily QA tests on your coils with factory phantoms to ensure SNR performance

• Replace torn comfort pads – torn pads can harbor hospital debris and human liquids

Storage
• Invest in a no-slip shelf or cabinet with no-slip shelves to store your coils. Rubber mats with ESD protection may also be useful

• Consider hanging flexible coils be hung on the wall as a means to prevent too much stress on the flexible areas of a coil. Hanging the flexible coils also prevent rubber padded coating from getting cut or compressed.

• Do not store coils on the floor.

Handling/usage
• Carry all MR coils by their handles, not the cables or flexible padded area of the coil

• When disconnecting coil from machine, do not yank the coil connector out by the cable – grasp the plug and gently pull it out of the mating connector

• When plugging in a coil, do not force it, be gentle. Be sure to plug it in straight – plugging it in an angle will cause plastic to wear away from the connector housing and plastic shaving can find their way into electrical connections

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