Terveystalo Pori was one of the first private healthcare clinics in Finland to employ GE Healthcare’s AIR™ coils for magnetic imaging. Unlike traditional fixed coils, AIR coils wrap closely around patients’ anatomy, making imaging more comfortable for the patient, and the coil positioning easier for the radiographer.
Faster, easier exams
GE Healthcare’s AIR coils were launched in Nordics in 2018. At Terveystalo Pori, magnetic resonance (MR) is mostly used for musculoskeletal imaging.
“Often the symptoms of our patients are not limited to one joint,” explains Hannu Toivonen, radiologist at Terveystalo Pori. According to Toivonen, the new AIR coils enable starting the examination with screening-type scanning with larger FOV and then subsequent higher resolution sequences can be targeted closer to the area of interest, going from whole pelvis scan to targeted hip sequences with smaller FOV. Because there is no need to move the coil between sequences, the examination is easier and faster.
As a result, this has also made the job easier for the referring clinicians.
Unlike the traditional MRI coil, AIR coil blankets are thin, light weight and flexible. They conform to the patient’s anatomy like a comfortable blanket and collect the necessary signals as close to the anatomy as possible, thus providing higher quality data and better-quality scans.
“The procedure is simpler and more efficient. The AIR coils are a really big improvement. For the radiographers, it is easier so that they can concentrate on the patient, not coil adjustments.”
Anna-Stina Lehtisalo, Service Manager, Terveystalo Pori
Traditional heavy and non-conformable copper loops have been replaced by a light and flexible conductor, which provides the blanket-like properties of the new coils. Improved patient comfort and high usability is the result of another unique feature: unlike traditional coils, the AIR coils can be wrapped around the patient with no limitations regarding overlapping loops. This is due to the patented structure inside, which controls how the interactions between the loops are controlled.
Better customer experience
In addition to the increased amount of data and better image quality, there are additional benefits for patients. They often find AIR coils more comfortable than traditional coils.
“The AIR coil is highly efficient and versatile. In particular, scanning the elbow-area has become much easier, because no specific coil was available for this area previously,” says Miia Lankinen, radiographer at Terveystalo Pori.
“Customers have given us positive feedback on the new technology,” Lankinen continues. “Scans are not always easy for all customers. Some may experience distress due to for example claustrophobia or various pain conditions. Children may find it challenging to remain still during scan. With AIR coils examination is more comfortable and easier to complete.”
More efficient and easy to use
AIR coil can increase the patient’s comfort, but it also makes procedures easier for radiographers. Service Manager Anna-Stina Lehtisalo explains the benefits of the AIR coils from the radiographers’ viewpoint.
“The procedure is simpler and more efficient. The AIR coils are a really big improvement. For the radiographers, it is easier so that they can concentrate on the patient, not coil adjustments. In the past, for example for scanning of the abdominal area, two different fixed coils were used, in addition to the respiration belt. Now all these three elements have been replaced by one lightweight AIR coil.”
Better design in fixed coils
When Terveystalo Pori’s upgraded their MRI equipment last summer, all their coils were renewed. In addition to the AIR coils, Terveystalo Pori now has better designed fixed coils for example the shoulder and knee. The new coils also complement each other nicely. In some cases, the patients’ limb mobility, possible plaster cast, or larger size, may make it difficult to use the traditional fixed coil. With AIR Coils these are not a problem because it flexes around the patient’s anatomy.
According to Jussi Jokinen, who has 15 years of radiography experience, the AIR coils have changed magnetic imaging.
“The AIR coil is highly efficient and versatile. In particular, scanning the elbow-area has become much easier, because no specific coil was available for this area previously.”
Miia Lankinen, Radiographer at Terveystalo Pori
The AIR coils are more user friendly. The equipment contains fewer moving parts and some of the coils are integrated into the imaging table. It saves time and increases ergonomics. In addition, the AIR coils are lighter than the old coils,” says Jokinen.
“New anatomic coils have clearly better fit. As a whole, AIR Coils have significantly facilitated the scanning complete limbs and the resolution is also good for higher resolution imaging of joints.”
GE Healthcare has introduced a smaller multipurpose coil in two different sizes. The first deliveries to Finland of this new Multipurpose AIR coil are expected by the end of year 2022.