Does your MRI Chiller work properly?

A medical environment is one area where you cannot afford mistakes or mechanical failures. Much of the diagnostic equipment in a hospital setting is vital to allow doctors and nurses to do their jobs. One such piece of equipment is an MRI machine.

Estimates indicate that most MRIs perform around 6000 scans per year, much more in a busy larger hospital setting. With this in mind, making sure the MRI machine and all its working parts are in good order is essential every day.

MRI Chillers

The cooling requirements of an MRI chiller can be challenging. When your machine overheats, it can be frustrating as it means any scans won’t be as precise as they need to be. But how can you ensure this doesn’t happen?

The magnet at the heart of an MRI machine must be kept at an extremely low temperature of 4 Kelvin, or -270°C. This is accomplished using liquid helium, which is cooled using a cryocooler, a specialized compressor unit. Another set of coils and heat exchangers is used to keep the cryocooler cool, which is critical because if the helium temperature rises, the machine could overheat. Without proper cooling, the helium will evaporate and be lost as it leaks out.

When it comes to an MRI cooling system, a dedicated water supply system will cool the water to allow the MRI to be maintained at the correct temperature.

If this system fails, the damage to the agent can be irreversible. If a failure and the water supply are disconnected, another water supply will need to be found; this is usually the city water supply.

Four main indicators your MRI chiller isn’t working include;

  • Low Helium Levels – low helium alerts indicate a massive failure or poor maintenance
  • Failure To Turn On – This is common after adverse weather conditions or power outages.
  • Image Artefacts – usually due to wear and tear of the coils rather than the MRI components themselves
  • Heat Exchanger Temperature Levels – Alerts of this kind indicate that your chiller isn’t working

Thermal spray chiller

City water contains chemicals that can damage a thermal spray chiller. If you have been relying on city water to maintain your MRI chiller properly, chances are you could be causing more damage than good. To avoid this type of damage, choosing the best thermal spray chiller to keep your MRI chiller at the right temperature is paramount to avoid further damage.

Having a backup system that can take over in the event of your main MRI chiller failing will ensure continuity and less damage to the magnet during its lifespan.

There are many different components and processes involved in making your MRI machine work. Your MRI chiller is a vital system that allows your MRI to work by cooling the Helium. Failure to maintain the correct cooling temperatures and standards of your MRI chiller will, in turn, make sure that your machine is in good working order for as long as possible. Back-up plans to allow the chiller to be supported in a failure will help reduce disruption to your medical facility and help you avoid costly repair bills.