Poole Hospital the first NHS trust to use helium-free MR technology

Innovation revolutionises current practice by virtually eliminating dependency on an irreplaceable natural resource

  • First UK use of Philips’ helium-free BlueSeal technology could save the trust and the environment 1,700 litres of liquid helium, an irreplaceable and finite natural resource with a supply cost to the health system as a whole of over £9m
  • Ingenia Ambition X system can also speed up exam times by up to 50% when combined with Compressed Sense technology, so patients spend less time being scanned with no compromise to image quality

The Philips' Ingenia Ambition X 1.5T MR technology enables helium-free operation, protecting scarce natural resources

Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust will be the first UK hospital to introduce a new kind of scanner, the Philips Ingenia Ambition X 1.5T MR - the UK’s first MR system to enable helium-free operations.

This break-through technology significantly reduces the chance of potentially lengthy and costly disruptions caused by liquid helium storage challenges, and could change the industry’s relationship with helium by moving from the largest consumer to being potentially helium free.

The Ingenia Ambition X not only provides advanced diagnostic imaging capabilities, but, importantly, can be operated by one person through a guided and intuitive patient set-up programme, whereas conventional machines may need multiple people to set up the system for a patient.

This freedom could free up clinicians to spend more time with patients, while system improvements can speed up exam times by up to 50% when combined with Compressed Sense software, which creates composite images so patients don’t spend as long being scanned.

As health budgets and services continue to remain tested by an ongoing increase in service demand; improvements in the productivity of scanners and reductions in their resource footprint will become increasingly important considerations for healthcare providers when choosing an imaging system.

And the Ingenia Ambition X has been designed to meet these needs.

The MRI was invented in the UK, so it’s fitting that today the UK is introducing another imaging first at Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Being helium-free, and therefore lightweight; it does not need to be installed in reinforced rooms with complex venting systems, giving trusts more freedom when planning where their MR departments and technology are placed.

“We are very proud to be first NHS trust in the UK to offer our patients this breakthrough MR technology,” said David Reed, MRI superintendent at the trust.

“The Ingenia Ambition X will not only ensure high-quality diagnostic care, but it could also all but eradicate potentially-costly disruptions to service arising from loss of helium should a machine lose its magnetism, referred to as ‘quenching’.

The Ingenia Ambition X will not only ensure high-quality diagnostic care, but it could also all but eradicate potentially-costly disruptions to service arising from loss of helium should a machine lose its magnetism

“With MR technology being a high-level investment that needs frequent use to ensure return on investment; removing this problem is of great appeal to the team while knowing that, vitally, it will support us to see more patients more quickly, without compromising quality.”

Simon McGuire, Philips’ UKI health systems lead, added: “The MRI was invented in the UK, so it’s fitting that today the UK is introducing another imaging first at Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

I am proud that we can offer this breakthrough technology that not only supports more patients in getting the care they need, but also does so in such a way that enables greater respect for the limited resources on Earth

“Philips has long been committed to making the world both healthier and more sustainable through meaningful innovation, and these values come together in the Ingenia Ambition X.

“Helium is a finite resource, with a large proportion being used in MR imaging scanners across the world. And I am proud that we can offer this breakthrough technology that not only supports more patients in getting the care they need, but also does so in such a way that enables greater respect for the limited resources on Earth.”

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