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MRI Technology Enhances Imaging Results

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics recently installed an advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system that combines a larger and shorter bore (opening) for obese, claustrophobic and anxious patients, with the ability to capture high-quality diagnostic images.

The Siemens Medical Solutions MAGNETOM Espree is the world's first high-performance 1.5 Telsa Open Bore MRI. The magnet's patient-friendly design makes it easier for large patients and those with claustrophobia to have an MRI examination that produces the same outstanding image quality as with smaller closed bore MRI systems. Fewer exams will need to be interrupted or repeated.

"This technology increases our efficiency and patient convenience," said Wendy R.K. Smoker, M.D., UI professor of radiology and co-director of MRI. "It also makes innovative medical imaging technology used for detection, diagnosis and treatment planning of cancer, diabetes, heart and vascular disorders, and other diseases available to more patients."

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Since two-thirds of American adults are overweight, the health care industry is challenged to accommodate these larger patients with imaging systems that were initially designed for people who weigh much less.

Previously, patients too large to fit inside the bore of a high-field MRI magnet had their imaging studies performed in open MRI systems with low-field magnets and limited diagnostic capabilities. Too often, the result was an MRI of limited clinical utility. The field strength of a magnet is measured in Tesla units -- the higher the number, the higher the field strength. Higher field strength MRI scanners produce images of superior diagnostic quality and offer a broader range of high-end clinical applications.

Claustrophobic patients present another challenge for MRI systems. They might require sedation, adding to their inconvenience and the time it takes to schedule and perform an MRI. The open bore design of the Siemens MAGNETOM Espree scanner assures an improved patient experience. The Espree installed at UI Hospitals and Clinics features an 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 bore of any 1.5 Tesla magnet available. About four feet long, the magnet allows more than 60 percent of exams to be completed with the patient's head outside the bore, helping to ease claustrophobia and anxiety.

The MAGNETOM Espree provides superior patient comfort and high-quality images, plus diagnostic confidence for all types of patients.