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New MRI Faster and More Accurate

By Gale Rose
November 21, 2015

Fast and accurate. Patients at Pratt Regional Medical Center will benefit from the new Siemens MRI currently being installed at PRMC.

A Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce images inside the body that an X-ray or ultrasound or CT scan can’t pick up.

The new unit has a stronger magnet that produces better resolution and at a faster speed, said Jeremy Demuth, PRMC MRI manager, who supervised the unloading of the new unit Tuesday.

It will take about a week to get the MRI installed and up and running but the wait will be worth it for both patients and staff. A team from Chicago is on site for the installation. The first scan is set for Dec. 14.

With the new unit, some procedure times have dropped from 30 minutes down to just seven minutes.

The old MRI has served the hospital well but advancements have produced a product that will much better serve PRMC patients. The magnet in the new MRI is rated five times stronger then the old machine for better resolution.

“It was time for an upgrade. We need to keep up with medical technology,” Demuth said. “You couldn’t get a better unit.”

Speed is critical when dealing with serious health issues like heart attack, stroke, aneurysms and blood clots. The faster the diagnosis can be made, the faster treatment can begin, Demuth said.

The machine also has better capabilities with orthopedic patients with prosthetics. They can be scanned with much greater accuracy.

Speed is also an important factor for people who are claustrophobic. The faster the scan, the less time patients have to spend in the machine. The inside width of the scanning circle is bigger and that will help those with claustrophobia.

The MRI design reduces the area that the patient’s head is confined and that adds to patient comfort. If the scan is not of the brain neck or shoulders, the head is clear.

“Most exams can be done with the patients head out of the unit,” Demuth said.

The unit is also very strong and can support someone weighing up to 550 pounds.

Besides speed, the unit is also much quieter than the current machine at the hospital. With new technology, the new MRI is about 70 times quieter and that will help claustrophobic patients as well.

The bed unit for the new MRI is detachable so it can go to the patients room, pickup the patient, return for the MRI then return the patient to their room without ever having to get off the bed.

Demuth said having this type of MRI available in a town the size of Pratt is unusual. Having the unit could also help attract new physicians to Pratt.

Because the MRI is a delicate instrument, very precise environmental controls are in place in the room on the west side of the new hospital wing.

Cryogenics are in place to keep all the necessary wiring at an appropriate temperature.

The MRI was manufactured in Germany. It is so delicate, the crates around the unit have special indicators to register if the crates were tipped during shipping.

The MRI and necessary support pieces arrived at the hospital Tuesday.
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