Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging contrast media injectors: technical feature review – what is really needed?
Institute of Medical Engineering, Otto-von-Guericke-University, Magdeburg, Germany
Abstract: There has been little technical innovation over the last few years for contrast media (CM) injectors that are used for diagnostic imaging (computed tomography [CT], magnetic resonance imaging [MRI], and hybrid imaging systems, such as positron emission tomography–CT or magnetic resonance–positron emission tomography) examinations. The medical need of CM for the enhancement of diagnostic images has been around for a long time, but the application of the CM into the blood stream comes with potential medical complications for the patient and requires a lot of operator experience and training. Most power injector systems that are currently used can do significantly more than what is typically required; this complexity however, adds error potential and cost. This paper focuses on the main features that CM injector systems should have and highlights the technical developments that are useful to have but which add complexity and cost, increase setup time, and require intensive training for safe use. CM injection protocols are very different between CT and MRI, with CT requiring many more variances, has a need for multiphase protocols, and requires a higher timing accuracy. A CM injector used in the MRI suite, on the other-hand, could only need a relatively time insensitive injection with a standard injection flow rate and a volume that is dependent on the patients’ weight. This would make easy and lightweight systems possible, which are able to safely and accurately perform the injection task, while allowing full MRI compatibility with relatively low cost investment and consumable costs.
Keywords: power injector, contrast media injection, injection protocols, MRI compatibility
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