Diagnostic imaging expert, Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging, has launched a new Zero-Helium MRI system. The Small Animal 1.5T MRI is the world’s first veterinary-specific machine that does not rely on helium to cool the MRI magnet coils. The new system is more environmentally friendly than its helium-based counterparts and reduces the upfront and ongoing costs of offering a veterinary MRI service to patients.
This new technology comes in response to growing concerns over helium supply. Extraction and usage of helium is quickly outpacing its natural synthesis, whilst observations from medical industry sources indicate that plummeting supply has caused helium prices to soar from £12.75 per litre in December of 2017 to between £50 and £55 per litre in June 2022. For veterinary hospitals already using high-field MRI machines, or for those considering them in the future, reliance on the 1,500-2,200 litres of helium required to keep a standard MRI functioning may not be sustainable.
“Hallmarq’s Zero-Helium Small Animal 1.5T MRI system increases access to diagnostic care for small animal patients, while lessening the financial, environmental and supply chain risks associated with traditional helium-based MRI systems,” said Hallmarq’s Chief Technology Officer Dr. Steve Roberts PhD.
To produce images of the best quality, MRI scanners utilise liquid helium to cool the magnet to -460 °F. To achieve the same result without helium, Hallmarq’s Zero-Helium system uses a new conduction-based cooling system in a strong vacuum. This eliminates the need for helium, a quench pipe, oxygen monitor, or any additional power.
Hallmarq’s Zero-Helium 1.5T MRI signifies an evolutionary advancement from the award-winning design of its earlier models. Using a clean-sheet approach, the Hallmarq Small Animal 1.5T MRI was planned from the ground up with animal anatomy and veterinary users in mind. The system utilises easy-to-use software, a V-shaped patient bed, a one-meter-long V-shaped spine coil, and open-top coils that are specifically designed for patient positioning to support the high-quality images needed for an accurate diagnosis. Another one-of-a-kind innovation includes an on-board radio frequency shield that eliminates the need for a complex and expensive radio frequency shielded room. Additionally, if space within a practice is scarce, modular and trailer options are available to reduce upfront costs and installation time.
Hallmarq provides additional support and convenience for veterinary professionals with their award-wining Q-Care programme, which includes installation planning, marketing services, remote monitoring, and a 99% uptime guarantee.
For more information about the Hallmarq Small Animal 1.5T MRI system, featuring the new Zero-Helium design, visit www.hallmarq.net. Additional information can be obtained by contacting Annie Makin on +44 (0)7719 530448.