Mayo Clinic first in the world to install new, high-field, open MRI

Jacksonville 20 September 2004Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, has installed the world's first open bore, 1,5 Tesla, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system. It combines a larger bore, or opening, for obese and claustrophobic patients with the ability to capture high-field quality diagnostic images and maximize patient comfort.


"This is going to increase our efficiency and patient convenience", stated Dr. Jerald Pietan, chair of Mayo's Department of Radiology. "The patient-friendly design of this magnet will make it easier for large patients and those with claustrophobia to have a MRI examination which produces quality images. This can reduce the need to repeat and interrupt exams."

"Certainly, all patients deserve the same access to innovative medical imaging technology used for visualization, diagnosis and treatment planning of cancer, diabetes, heart and vascular disorders and other diseases associated with obesity", stated Heinrich Kolem, Ph.D., president, MRI division, Siemens Medical Solutions. "The installation of the Espree at a leading health care institution such as Mayo Clinic supports our organisations' common mission to help address critical health issues and enable the best possible patient care."

Since two-thirds of American adults are overweight, the health care industry is challenged to accommodate these larger patients with standard imaging systems that were designed for people who weigh much less. Currently, patients too large to fit inside the bore of a high-field MRI magnet have image studies done in open MRI systems with low-field magnets. This limits the diagnostic usefulness of the images obtained. The field strength of a magnet is measured in units of Tesla - the higher the number, the higher the field strength. The higher the field strength, the better the quality of images produced.

Claustrophobic patients present another challenge for MRI systems. They can be sedated, adding to their inconvenience and the time it takes to schedule and perform an exam. The Siemens Medical Solutions MAGNETOM Espree, installed at Mayo Clinic, features a bore opening of nearly 2,3 feet in diameter and almost one foot of free space between a patient's head and the magnet. The Espree also features the shortest 1,5 Tesla magnet available. Approximately four feet long, the magnet allows more than 60 percent of exams to be completed with the patient's head outside the bore, helping to ease claustrophobia.

The Espree unit also features Total Imaging Matrix (TIM) technology that enables acquisition of the high-resolution images in a shorter time. This will allow for shorter imaging exams to further enhance patient comfort and improve productivity.

Mayo Clinic is a multi-speciality medical clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. The staff includes 328 physicians working in more than 40 specialities to provide diagnosis, treatment and surgery. Patients who need hospitalization are admitted to nearby St. Luke's Hospital, a 289-bed Mayo facility. Mayo Clinics also are located in Rochester, Minnesota, and Scottsdale, Arizona.

Siemens Medical Solutions of Siemens AG with headquarters in Malvern, Pennsylvania and Erlangen, Germany, is one of the largest suppliers to the health care industry in the world. The company is known for bringing together innovative medical technologies, health care information systems, management consulting, and support services, to help customers achieve tangible, sustainable, clinical and financial outcomes.

Employing approximately 31.000 people worldwide and operating in more than 120 countries, Siemens Medical Solutions reported sales of 7,4 billion euro, orders of 7,8 billion euro and group profit of 1,1 billion euro for fiscal 2003. More company news is available in this VMW issue's article Siemens technology offers 3D visualisation of coronary vessels

Leslie Versweyveld

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