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Addressing Work Flow in MRI Patient Monitoring


Monitoring blood oxygen saturation in the MRI suite can challenge patient care and work flow. Here’s Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital’s solution.

Monitoring patient blood oxygen saturation in the MRI suite can present a challenge in patient care and work flow. The powerful magnetic field preempts the use of conventional electronic devices and many accessories. Patients often have to be taken out of the suite to be transferred to a different monitor, which can create a gap in procedures and a short time without monitoring.

At Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital in Houston, Texas, the radiology department says they have found a solution, a wireless SpO2 monitor that picks up the wireless signal from the patient module. MRI team leader J. T. Branch, ARRT RT(R)(MR), discussed a few points of the implementation of the Essential SpO2 monitor, developed by Invivo, which has a touch screen and can be used in MRI environments up to 3T.

What is unique about this wireless monitor?

We do our general anesthesia cases, both pediatric and adult, one day a week. When an MRI procedure is finished and the patient is still under, the monitor allows us to move the patient from the MRI room to the MRI recovery area without replacing any patient connections. It’s made for the MRI environment: It’s small and light and it picks up the patient’s SpO2 wireless signal from the same sensor as our multi-parameter monitoring system does, so there is never a lapse in patient monitoring. In the meantime, the monitoring system in the MRI room is freed up for the next study right away so we don’t waste any time between procedures.

What was your process like before using this monitor?

In the past we would have to make a transition from the MRI monitoring system to a non-MR monitor for patient’s recovery. That meant taking the patient out of the MR room first, switching the SpO2 sensors between monitors, thus briefly interrupting the monitoring and introducing an extra step to our work flow. It would also tie up the MR monitoring system for several minutes between cases and add to the MRI scanner idle time.

What are the main benefits?

The added peace of mind for the staff that patient monitoring is never interrupted throughout the MRI procedure and all the way to the recovery is the main benefit. Removing a step in the transfer process also helps and it makes the patient experience more comfortable. We also have a little better control over our MRI schedule knowing that transferring patients to the recovery won’t tie up any of the equipment we need for the next case.

Any downsides or challenges in using it?

No real downside. One thing to watch out for is that after recovery the monitor doesn’t “walk” with the patient away from the MRI department.

Any advice to others considering adopting this technology?

I would recommend this technology to others. It’s good to have somebody on the team responsible for the equipment so that after the patient is safely in the MRI recovery area, the monitor is returned to the MRI induction room for use on other patients.

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