NETHERLANDS —Philips has unveiled a groundbreaking achievement — the world’s first mobile MRI system with helium-free operations, named the BlueSeal MR Mobile at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA23) congress.
This 1.5T fully sealed magnet introduces a new era of patient-centric MRI services, offering agility and lightweight design that allows placement in more accessible locations, such as near a hospital’s main entrance.
Developed for outpatient radiology and oncology solutions provider Akumin, the BlueSeal MR Mobile represents a significant leap in enhancing the accessibility and convenience of MRI exams for patients.
Philips’ BlueSeal Magnet incorporates an AI-driven EasySwitch feature that rapidly restores normal operation after an interruption, utilizing a single-click discharge and re-energization from behind the MR console.
This is part of Philips’ broader integration of AI in radiology workflows, including SmartSpeed imaging technology, MR AI Protocol Assistant, VitalEye, SmartExam, and MRCAT Brain and Head and Neck software, all contributing to faster and more efficient MR scans with reduced power consumption.
With over 600 systems installed globally, Philips’ MRI scanners, equipped with BlueSeal magnet technology, have already saved more than 1.5 million liters of helium since 2018.
The extension of this breakthrough technology to a mobile unit signifies Philips’ commitment to expanding quality access to MRI exams sustainably, addressing the increasing demand for helium-free operations in the medical diagnostics field.
Traditionally, MRI machines rely on liquid helium, a nonrenewable element found deep within the Earth’s crust, to maintain their magnetic currents at superconductive temperatures.
However, with helium reserves running low globally, Philips’ BlueSeal magnet technology provides a game-changing solution.
Unlike conventional MRI magnets that require around 1,500 liters of liquid helium, the BlueSeal magnet only needs 7 liters, significantly reducing operational costs and downtime.
Ruud Zwerink, General Manager Magnetic Resonance at Philips, emphasized the partnership with healthcare systems to overcome resource constraints and address the rising patient volumes.
The introduction of breakthrough technology into the mobile MRI market is a strategic move to mitigate operational and sustainability challenges associated with conventional scanners, facilitating healthcare providers in delivering fast, patient-friendly, and high-quality care.
The BlueSeal MR Mobile goes beyond its helium-free innovation by offering connectivity to the Philips Radiology Operations Command Center (ROCC).
This multi-vendor, multi-modality, virtual imaging solution securely connects technologists with remote imaging experts in real-time.
Through audio, video, and peer-to-peer text chat capabilities, the BlueSeal MR Mobile, coupled with the ROCC, enhances the efficiency of MRI operations and further supports healthcare providers in delivering top-notch patient care.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), a pivotal diagnostic tool in healthcare since the 1980s, provides high-resolution images that enable doctors to visualize details in organs, bones, and tissues not easily detectable by X-rays.
Unlike X-rays, MRIs use magnetic fields and radio waves to generate 3D images, making them indispensable for diagnosing conditions ranging from brain tumors and strokes to spinal cord injuries, liver diseases, and cancer.
The technological evolution in MRI machines is evident in the efforts of industry leaders like GE and Siemens, who are developing MRIs requiring less liquid helium.
Siemens recently introduced a machine requiring just 0.7 liters, while GE rolled out a machine that is 1.4 times more efficient than previous models.