If you own or operate an MRI scanner you understand how important it is to monitor your system's helium level and cooling performance. You may also know that even with regular checks, things that will drop your helium level dramatically and put you at risk for a magnet quench can still happen. Nights, weekends, even regular office hours between checkups are all times when a parts failure somewhere in your system can send the temperature up and the helium to a boil.
So, if you can't have someone watching your MRI 24 hours a day, what can you do to prevent incidents like this? The answer might be a device called a remote diagnostic unit (RDU). We'll tell you more about the RDU and how it works in the next few paragraphs.
RDU for MRI: The Basics
What Is It?
An RDU is a monitoring computer that regularly reports vital service parameters for your MRI. These include information related to your cryostat, HVAC, chiller, and power supply. An RDU comprises an embedded single-board computer with a Linux operating system. It calls out from the MRI facility to a central server to provide reports on performance and alerts if helium boil-off is increasing, if your coldhead or compressor turn off, or if there's a power failure on site.
Why Do I Need It?
An RDU is watching over your MRI when no one else is. When the staff goes home for the day, or a holiday rolls around and the office is closed for a long weekend, an RDU can catch the incident that would otherwise cost you thousands and/or put your machine out of commission for days.
Who Tracks It?
In most cases, your MRI service provider will install the RDU and work with your site IT staff to set it up on the network to call their server. From there, if your system stats begin to show irregularities or if an urgent alarm comes through, your service provider can notify you and formulate a response plan.
Is It Included in a Service Package?
Many providers (Block Imaging among them) build RDU support into the cost of some of their service plans. Other providers offer it for an additional cost. Still others don't offer RDU at all. If you're in the market for your next service plan, the inclusion of RDU support is valuable feature to be on the lookout for.
If you'd like to simplify caring for your MRI scanner and save money on lost helium, ask your service provider about RDU support. An RDU can give you more efficiency, better performance, and greater peace of mind with the around-the-clock monitoring. If you'd like to know more about RDU support or other features of service coverage that includes it, use the button below. Our team is ready to get the conversation started.
Nicole Tervo is a Service Coordinator Team Lead at Block Imaging. She considers it her privilege to build lasting industry partnerships through outstanding service. Out of the office, Nicole can be found hunting fishing, skiing, and supporting Detroit sports.