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RF shielding considerations in the MR suite

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | September 15, 2021
MRI
From the September 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

It is a common misconception among some imaging providers that an existing radiofrequency (RF) shield can easily be converted or modified to work with any new MR system. Experts in the shielding industry say this could not be further from the truth.

Whether it be a new installation or repair of an existing shield, information pertaining to the schematics of the room, to who the magnet vendor is, is necessary to help shielding vendors and planners understand the present shield and site conditions and the best way to proceed for the specifications on the incoming unit.

"Understanding their situation is important for us because it enables us to provide the information they will need to convert the existing shield and help walk them through normal timelines and milestones, so their expectations are understood and more importantly, reasonable," Mike Krachon, director of marketing and sales for IMEDCO, told HCB News.

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To help facilities maximize shielding performance, HCB News has put together a guide for addressing potential issues that often arise around this technology.

Be prepared
Radiofrequency shielding requires advanced planning and providers must be ready to supply the shielding manufacturer with any information they need. This includes, but is not limited to schematics of the MR room, contact information for the magnet vendor and equipment supplier, what type of MR system is being installed, if the provider can install the shield itself, budgeting information, and if the project has any unique requirements.

The first question that Cristiano Villa, president of Istra Corp., likes to ask is where the RF shield will be located. “It is not just about what is currently nearby but what may be nearby during the planned life of the MR. Does the building owner plan to lease the adjoining space to a data center or will the lower floor become a warehouse with forklifts driving nearby during the day?”

Other factors to consider when determining the location of the shield are high voltage sources nearby; moving metal contraptions, such as cars and elevators; and magnetic fields generated by MR scanners. Additionally, it is important to identify any features or products that will be included in the MR room.

“If you plan a basic scan room, a basic RF shield is adequate,” said Jim Maslowski, president of PDC Facilities. “However, if you plan to add patient experience products, it's best to purchase everything from the shielding company to ensure single-source responsibility for compliance with RF and EMI requirements.”

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