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Date: 28 May 2017

Time: 15:36

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

RRPPS has an increasing capacity for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) physics support with an expanding group of Clinical Scientists registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) specialising in MRI physics.  Scientific support and MR Safety Expert (MRSE) advice is provided to enable clinical MRI services to comply with national MR safety and good practice guidelines, standards and relevant legislation. The RRPPS MRI team aims to supply high-level MR physics expertise to improve existing clinical MRI services, to develop new clinical MRI services and to carry out research using advanced MRI methods.

MR physics services are offered at different levels depending on the needs and resources of the customer. Below is a summary of the range of MRI services now offered by RRPPS.

  • Planning, Procurement and Acceptance Testing: The magnetic field strengths in and around the installation are very strong and pose a great risk. Advice for site planning, purchase, installation and commissioning of new MR equipment is provided to enable customers to ensure compliance with relevant safety guidelines and legislation. Prior to installation, plans can be checked to ensure that the location is satisfactory. The RRPPS MR team have extensive experience in measuring magnetic fields and can provide expert advise to help set up the necessary controlled area for the MRI installation. Acceptance tests can be carried out by RRPPS for newly installed MR equipment to check both safety and system performance. 
  • Performance Testing: MRI system performance tests are carried out annually using standard quality assurance (QA) phantoms. Performance is assessed using methods and criteria recommended by professional bodies (IPEM and ACR) and by comparing results with previous RRPPS QA reports.
  • Safety survey: RRPPS liaises with Department of Health (MHRA), Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Health & Safety Executive (HSE) to update users on standards to improve safety. Information is provided on all aspects of MR safety including advice related to current guidelines, standards and relevant legislation. Regular site safety surveys are carried out to monitor compliance and verify that the necessary operational policies and procedures are in place. Assistance can be provided for preparing warning signs, local rules, procedures and risk assessments.
  • Advanced Applications Testing: MR physicists are available to provide physics support including sequence optimisation and development for specific MR applications. Support includes specialised help and advice for reducingartefacts, optimising sequences and image analysis for applications such as fat suppression, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), tractography, perfusion, angiography, fMRI and spectroscopy. For advanced applications the following tests can be carried out:
    • contrast assessment using a standardised contrast phantom (Eurospin Test Object TO5)
    • tests to comply with: Technical Guidelines for Magnetic Resonance Imaging for the Surveillance of Women at Higher Risk of Developing Breast Cancer (NHS Breast Screening Programme)
    • temporal stability tests for fMRI, diffusion and perfusion applications
    • spike tests
    • extended geometric integrity tests for radiotherapy treatment planning
    • quantitative T1, T2 and T2* mapping
    • fat suppression performance
    • fat quantitation
    • spectroscopy (shimming, SNR, localisation)
  • Research: MR physicists with many years of experience in research are available to provide support and advice for translational research projects involving novel MR methods for clinical applications, ranging from the proposal development and funding application stage through to protocol implementation, data analysis, interpretation and dissemination. There is close collaboration on many projects between staff in the RRPPS MRI team and academics at the University of Birmingham. The RRPPS MRI team are involved in PhD supervision, and funded research projects that include (i) Study of liver disease using MRS, (ii) Childhood brain tumours using MRS and diffusion imaging, (iii) Brain neurotransmitter measurements, eg. GABA, using transcranial direct current stimulation and advanced MRS spectral editing methods, (iv) Measurements investigating the changes in brain Gluthathione levels with exercise using MRS spectral editing, (v) Arterial spin labelling and dynamic susceptibility contrast (DSC) methods to measure perfusion in brain tumours.

Contact us

For further information, please contact:

Nigel Davies
RRPPS
63 Melchett Road
Kings Norton Business Centre
Birmingham, B30 3HP
Telephone: 0121 371 7000
Email: Nigel.Davies@uhb.nhs.uk

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