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Overlooked but essential – RF shielding in the MR suite

por John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | October 09, 2019
From the October 2019 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

“If a super quick delivery is needed and there is little time to do drawings and go through the approval cycle, a soldered copper solution is likely the best choice,” said Ben Turner, global director for RF shielding at NELCO Worldwide. “If the customer has a major construction that won’t be completed for many months after the RF shield is installed, we might suggest the galvanized shield, which is less prone to accidental damage by other subcontract trades who might be working in the area.”

Overlooked considerations
Building a recess into the floor is a smart way to make sure the RF shield doesn’t disrupt a smooth transition into the scanner room. “In any place, particularly a hospital where you have non-ambulatory patients or may be wheeling a 300-pound undockable table with a 500-pound patient on it, that one inch speed bump can be really difficult,” said Tobias Gilk, senior VP of Radiology Planning, a company that specializes in imaging facility design.

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Many providers fail to consider mechanical, electrical and plumbing requirements during the design process. In some cases, a shield might be directly fixed to the wall, preventing it from being electrically isolated from the rest of the building. In many cases, doors to MR suites represent the weak points where RF leaks may occur.

“It is necessary to ensure that the door is being maintained and proper maintenance procedures are followed by trained personnel,” said Howard Newman, vice president of Universal Shielding Corp. “Any modifications to the RF Shield should be done by an experienced shielded room installer.”

Wires run through shields should go through RF filters to avoid the onset of RF leaks.
Taking the time to consider these finer points of shielding might seem unnecessary or overly meticulous now, but Gilk warns that once a problem arises you may wish you had taken these considerations more seriously.

“If you spend a million and a half dollars on a scanner and a quarter million on building out a room, all of the capital investment is specifically for the purpose of getting the best images you can,” he said. “If you have an RF leak at your door, then you compromise that one-and-three-quarter-million-dollar investment.”

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