Site-Planning

for Medical Imaging Equipment

Informed Advance Planning Simplifies a Potentially Complex installation
42 DOTmedbusiness news

By Joel Kellogg, ETS-Lindgren and Dave Jordan, West Physics
I january 2010

www.dotmed.com

even if the 3 Gauss lines intersect. which means that the magnetic shielding will need to be designed to contain 3 Gauss rather than 5 Gauss. vibration. a magnet vendor may require that the 3 Gauss fringe fields do not intersect. placing MRI systems side-by-side with limited spacing between MRI suites will drive the requirements for magnetic shielding. Careful planning that accounts for workflow and surrounding areas can also help reduce the level of shielding required representing a cost savings to the owner while providing a functional. mainly Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) systems. and acoustic requirements. This may provide enough spacing so that the 3 Gauss lines do not intersect. placing MRI systems next to each other can create a concern for crosstalk. and the planned equipment. however. A simple solution may be to place the MRI equipment rooms. Magnetic shielding costs can be reduced by DOTmedbusiness news I january 2010 43 . As a result. will require Radio Frequency (RF) and magnetic shielding. For example. Ultrasound equipment. There are many pieces of equipment that could be adversely impacted by high static magnetic fields similar to those generated by an MRI system. between adjacent MRI systems. There may also be concerns over co-siting medical imaging equipment as one piece of equipment could have a negative impact on another piece of equipment. this may also require expensive modifications to the equipment itself. This will result in a heavier Figure 2 Providing separation between adjacent MRI systems will reduce the potential for crosstalk and decrease the amount of magnetic shielding required. While many sites will only be concerned with meeting FDA recommendations of 5-Gauss containment in public areas surrounding MRI suites. Crosstalk results in MRI systems having an interactive impact on each other. Depending upon the equipment. concerns may include radiation. the magnetic shielding requirements may change. which house When planning for MRI systems. Good site planning must thoroughly evaluate both the impact of the imaging equipment on the surroundings (environmental concerns) and the impact of the space itself on the performance of the imaging equipment and the personnel using the equipment (performance concerns). the amount of magnetic shielding required to separate the 3 Gauss lines will cost much less than having the MRI systems located side by side. Radio Frequency and Radiation) and Acoustics Magnetic Shielding Shielding is critical to the proper development of a site for imaging equipment. To avoid crosstalk in a situation where MRI systems are placed in close proximity. the magnetic shielding requirements are driven by specific site selection. For example. D the MRI’s electronic systems. Figure 1 shows crosstalk concerns which result in increased magnetic shielding requirements.esigning space for medical imaging equipment can be quite complex and involved as there are many items that must be addressed in order to successfully develop a site. In some cases. in large imaging suites with multiple MRI systems. Environmental Concerns Shielding (Magnetic. linear accelerators. and electron microscopes are just a few examples of equipment that can be negatively impacted by the one Gauss fringe field. magnetic and/ or radio frequency (RF) shielding. it is critical to develop a site plan and workflow process well in advance that is functional for users. electromagnetic interference (EMI). there are some simple things that can be done to avoid excessive magnetic shielding costs. computerized tomography (CT). While the majority of MRI systems require an RF shield. It is also important to consider the areas surrounding imaging equipment that will need radiation and MRI shielding. efficient work environment. patients. Figure 1 Crosstalk concerns result in increased magnetic shielding requirements due to MRI systems in close proximity. cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors. magnetic shield and increased shielding costs. Some imaging equipment will require radiation shielding and other equipment.

This will allow the RF shielding vendor to install the RF shielding system with a flat threshold or a threshold that meets ADA requirements.5T or less require an RF shield that provides 100 dB 44 DOTmedbusiness news I january 2010 of attenuation at 100 MHz while 3. depending upon the vibration and acoustic requirements. should achieve a minimum of 1000 ohms of ground isolation. there may be workflow reasons that make it advantageous to place a piece of equipment near an MRI. which are used in procedures such as nuclear medicine.dotmed. who derives a medical benefit from the radiation used in the procedure. as an example. placing equipment at distances that are outside the maximum allowable static magnetic field as required by the OEM specifications. the performance requirements of the RF shielding will typically increase as well. Specialty shielded penetrations must be provided to maintain the RF shielding integrity. These doors have the look and feel of a standard door adding to user comfort while the ease of operation expedites patient throughput. these individuals must be carefully protected from exposure. this may be inconvenient and create logistical issues for moving patients. or galvanized steel surrounding the MRI system. consideration when site planning. www. when first constructed. Typical MRI doors. other important aspects of the shielding that should be considered are the doors and windows. all electrical items including power for outlets. must also pass through a wave guide. when designing a new space. For example. will not allow frequencies below 100 MHz to pass through the shielding as some of those frequencies could interfere with the MRI system. Most electrical filters are low pass filters that only allow signals below a “cutoff” frequency to pass through. Radio Frequency Shielding Unlike magnetic shielding. including less than optimal MRI images. Additionally. Figure 2 shows how providing separation between adjacent MRI systems will reduce the potential for crosstalk and decrease the amount of magnetic shielding required. For existing buildings. Another significant issue to consider is the floor. Unlike the patient. must pass through electrical filters. MRI systems with field strengths of 1. Determining RF shielding requirements is fairly simple due to the fact that all RF shields consist of a six sided structure and the level of attenuation or shielding effectiveness is determined by the field strength of the MRI system to be installed. Wave guides designed for a 100 MHz RF enclosure. above. Careful attention should be used when specifying doors and windows if acoustics are a concern. radiographic rooms. use friction to create the RF seal. This is a critical. concrete should be removed to depress the slab. For example. and fluoroscopy suites. but can be quite difficult to operate as these doors require a reasonable amount of force to open and close. eliminating the need for a ramp into the room. Therefore. For example. for example. There are doors available that provide mechanical seals to create the RF seal at the door with simple “push button” entry and egress operation. As the field strength of the MRI systems increase. This works well for cre- ating the RF seal at the door.com . aluminum. functionality should be considered a top priority when designing and specifying products for a site. It is important to keep in mind windows and doors will often have limited acoustic performance. the floors may be thicker than 1-1/2”. In addition to specialty shielded penetrations. The RF enclosure. However. This is intended to prevent ground loops and other issues. Additionally. the door can become unreliable. but it should be understood that such a placement may change magnetic shielding requirements and increase shielding costs. Without proper maintenance. a filter with a 1 MHz cutoff will only allow signals at frequencies below 1 MHz to pass though the filter into the MRI suite via the wiring of the filter. All RF shielding systems have a floor that is between 5/8” and 1-1/2” thick. Special consideration must be given to all items that penetrate the exterior of the RF shield into the MRI suite. special attention must be given to the ground isolation of the room. The doors and windows are items that the MRI end users will see and use every day. but often overlooked. In some applications. It is possible to place equipment such as ultrasounds and CTs next to. lighting and specific sensors required for an MRI installation. if required. HVAC must pass through HVAC wave guides and plumbing for fire sprinklers. such as in CT scanners. This can create an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) issue requiring a ramp into the room. Medical radiation comes from two types of sources: X-ray tubes. a floor depression for the MRI suite should be included. or below an MRI system. and radioactive materials.0T MRI systems require a shielding system that provides a 100 dB of attenuation at 150 MHz.ETS-Lindgren’s Auto-Seal™ II Door offers mechanical seals and a push-button operation. Therefore. Radio Frequency (RF) shielding is required for the majority of MRI applications and consists of a highly conductive material such as copper. This raises other concerns and issues. Radiation Shielding Imaging procedures that use ionizing radiation pose a health risk to the clinical staff and patients as well as to members of the public in spaces surrounding the imaging suite. These doors require maintenance and repair of the door’s RF fingers to maintain performance. which will occur due to poor grounding of an enclosure. Wave guides are designed to specifically limit the frequencies that could pass through the shielding.

the PET/CT scan room is typically not the most critical shielding design element. Lead shielding require- ments can be mitigated by placing equipment in larger rooms. All sources of ionizing radiation are generally shielded the same way – with layers of lead sheeting applied to the existing structural barriers. the uptake room walls can require several inches of lead thickness to provide adequate shielding to an adjacent office or waiting room. more effective layout. janitor’s closets. as the source of radiation moves. There are some important differences in the design approach to facilities using X-ray systems and those using radioactive materials. or gypsum wallboard. Care should be taken when locating the wall or chest bucky (the device used to hold film cassettes for chest X-rays taken in a standing position) in a radiographic room. should be consulted to determine these shielding require- ments. nurses’ stations. For these suites. and positron emission tomography (PET). effectively increasing the distance between the source of radiation and other occupied spaces. Figure 3 shows a typical layout while Figure 4 shows a better. Rather. and outdoor areas are all good choices to situate next to X-ray and CT rooms. However. There are also hybrid imaging systems such as PET/ CT and SPECT/CT which utilize both a radioactive source and an X-ray source. In a facility not laid out with this in mind. the scan room must be analyzed and shielded as a CT scanner room in addition to the shielding required due to the PET radioactive material. and so forth will require more shielding if placed in close proximity to an X-ray source. such as a medical physicist or health physicist. For X-ray imaging systems. Given the additional cost and weight associated with lead-shielded building systems. in many states this consultation is required by law.Figure 3 Figure 4 single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). Other materials may be used. In either case. steel. the patient actually becomes the radiation source once injected with the radiopharmaceutical. A radiation physicist. such as offices. the site planner should consult closely with the radiation physicist at the layout stage. In addition to increasing the distance. rooms adjacent to X-ray imaging systems of all kinds should be chosen for low-occupancy uses – storage rooms. since X-rays will strike this wall directly. This requires a different approach. Of course. In imaging operations using radioactive material. for a PET/CT suite. such as concrete. the effective radiation source is the machine itself. facility designers should take prudent steps to reduce the amount of lead needed. care should be taken to configure the imaging suite so that the imaging technologist will have full control to prevent members of the public from inadvertently coming into conDOTmedbusiness news I january 2010 45 . this is less of a concern because the emitted radiation is not very penetrating. are the major shielding concern. where the patients wait for 30-60 minutes between the radiopharmaceutical injection and the scanning procedure. for PET and PET/CT suites. Areas that have high occupancy. and exposes different areas of the human body. the “uptake” or “quiet” rooms. For SPECT and general nuclear medicine imaging. restrooms. occupies.

MRI systems can be quite disruptive to the surrounding environment. and by transportation systems that run on electrical power such as subways and trains. trucks and elevators. Passive shielding can be very effective in resolving 60 Hz and higher frequency EMI issues. addressing performance considerations prior to or during the construction pePerformance Concerns riod results in the most cost effective Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) solution for optimal performance of the Medical imaging systems can be senmedical imaging equipment. Ideally. and elevators can aid in the prevention of potential EMI issues (as well as the significant vibrations associated with many of these elements). unlike passive shielding. EMI shielding consultants are available that can survey existing buildings to permanently magnetize steel and other ferromagnetic components within the building structure. ceiling and floor construction to meet predetermined acoustic criteria. Unfortunately. MRI systems can create airborne noise. a well designed active system will be able to respond to those changes and maintain an EMI environment that meets manufacturer specifications for EMI sensitive equipment. In particular.dotmed. and corrugated metal deck and rebar inside concrete floors and ceilings are common culprits when this type of interference exists. For example. and gaps in construction around the imaging suite should be treated.com . this solution is dependent upon the level of the EMI and the amount of material required to resolve the issue. motors. and low carbon steel. If the building is under volves some combination of weight and construction. Unlike EMI and vibration concerns. Passive shielding also requires no maintenance after installation and can often be the most cost effective solution for higher frequency (frequencies of 50 Hz and greater) EMI issues. and the resulting magnetic field can cause EMI within the room after the MRI system is removed. tion for structure-borne acoustic noise. Second. an active system requires considerably www. or a more difficult approach in providing for proper security of areas where radioactive materials are stored. Common materials that are used for passive shielding are aluminum. Transportation systems such as subway trains can cause electromagnetic interference with medical air gaps. there are solutions to EMI issues. However. an active system has the ability to respond to a changing environment. As a result. The solution should also detail how penetrations. Steel shielding from the old MRI system. silicon steel. This can mean simply configuring the direction of a door swing so that a technologist will have an unobstructed view of a doorway when seated at his or her workstation. passive shielding and active shielding. For example. EMI may be caused by electrithe facility itself in the case of a retrocal equipment. parking garages. if the EMI environment becomes worse. acoustic solutions typically need to address both airborne and structure-borne noise in order to be effective. a vibration slab the electrical layouts and the proximity that is isolated from the surrounding of EMI sensitive equipment to items structure and is placed on spring isolasuch as moving metal found in elevators tors could also be a cost-effective soluor subways or electrical sources. and isolation clips to adimaging systems. stud placement. can be very effective at lower frequencies (frequencies below 100 Hz). Active shielding. Active shielding. Passive shielding involves using materials with magnetic shielding properties. on the other hand. which is the propagation of acoustic noise through the building structure. Structure-borne acoustic quantify the EMI environment to detersolutions can be more complicated. roadways. which is the propagation of acoustic noise through the air. and structure-borne noise. HVAC ducts. Therefore. a shielding consultant could propose shielding options that will reduce the EMI in the area around EMI sensitive equipment. acoustic issues are often created by the imaging equipment itself. dress both the transmission and reflection of acoustic noise. sitive to electromagnetic interference EMI issues also may be endemic to (EMI). First. Typical airborne acoustic solutions involve detailed wall. There are several benefits associated with active shielding solutions. a consultant can approxiisolation material. avoiding the placement of EMI sensitive imaging equipment near electrical rooms. MRI scanners can 46 DOTmedbusiness news I january 2010 objects such as cars. This does not mean that imaging equipment cannot be installed in an EMI environment that exceeds manufacturer specifications. moving metal fit of an MRI suite. a structure-borne solution inEMI criteria. mine if a facility meets the equipment Typically. sound batt insulation. In fact. In the event that a site does not or will not meet the manufacturer’s requirements for EMI. These solutions typically come in two forms. steel beams. with mate the source(s) of EMI based upon proper site planning.tact with sources of radiation. but has limited effectiveness in resolving lower frequency disturbances that can be created by moving metal objects such as subways and trains that operate on DC electric power. Acoustics Acoustics is an important issue that should be investigated when designing a site for medical imaging systems. Recommended wall and ceiling construction usually involves some combination of gypsum board. Proper site layout based upon an awareness of the impact this existing equipment may have on the medical imaging system can avoid many of these issues. large transformers and motors. utilizes electronics and coil systems to create a cancelling magnetic field over a predetermined volume. EMI issues cannot always be avoided especially in large urban areas where an owner may have limited placement options.

Summary less construction. He may be reached at 630-307-7200 or joel. The unfortunate aspect is that isolated slabs and modifications to the structure can be quite expensive. which is much less expensive to implement at the time of construction and can have the added benefit of providing structure-borne sound attenuation due to high noise levels that are produced by some pieces of imaging equipment. Informed site planning when designing space for medical imaging equipment. EMI. Additionally. Fortunately. and radio frequency shielding requirements. since passive shielding is a much less effective solution for lower frequency applications. Performing a retrofit after imaging equipment has been installed and found to be adversely affected by vibrations can be extremely expensive. Follow up on the references and visit the project if prossible to assess the capability of the consultant and valueadded services provided to the customer. a vibration consultant can aid in the development of isolated slabs as necessary. in some situations. About the Authors Joel Kellogg is Manager of Technical Engineering and Consulting with ETSLindgren in Glendale Height. If the equipment does not meet the vibration criteria.com Dave Jordan is Senior Medical Physicist with West Physics Consulting in Atlanta. a nearby mechanical room may not include isolation pads or isolators for mechanical equipment that induce vibrations into the structure. A survey will quickly determine whether the existing structure meets the vibration requirements of the equipment being sited. accreditation. In the case of new construction. of Ottolino Winters Huebner for his invaluable contributions to and review of this article. Vibration Imaging equipment. An experienced shielding design team with an experienced acoustic and/or vibration consultant will aid the user in this often complex process. a good survey will analyze the cause of the vibration and provide general recommendations to resolve vibration issues. It may also be possible to use vibration isolators on some imaging equipment such as MRIs. For example. such a building retrofit is much less costly to perform during the process of outfitting a space and installing imaging equipment. His experience includes acceptance. it may be necessary to stiffen the structure under the imaging equipment or build an isolated slab to meet the equipment’s vibration criteria. in particular MRI systems. In existing buildings. In the event that a particular site does or will experience EMI issues. other imaging equipment. especially prior to construction. and traffic in the building. vibration.com Online: dotmed.com/dm11080 • DOTmedbusiness news I january 2010 47 . most vibration concerns can be addressed through careful design and construction of the area to house sensitive pieces of equipment. ask any consultant or firm you may hire for customer references and a list of recently completed projects. AIA. His experience includes design of MRI suites to meet various acoustic. He may be reached at (770) 435-9186 or dave@westphysics. can be impacted by building vibrations. a vibration consultant can aid in the development of the site by reviewing equipment specifications and site plans to determine the vibration response of the structure due to vibration sources such as mechanical. An active system typically requires the installation of coils unlike passive shielding. which often requires the installation of a six sided structure that requires interior finishes. Many vibration issues can be resolved through inexpensive solutions. Acknowledgement The authors would like to acknowledge and thank Rick Ottolino. IL. results in a cost effective and successful site – one that is completed on time and on budget. However. This may simply require placing vibration isolators under such equipment. However. which would allow for the attenuation of vibrations and decoupling of the equipment from the structure due to the benefits of the isolators. and safety evaluations of medical imaging systems and design of radiation shielding. To protect your investment. particularly CT and MRI scanners. GA. The upfront investment in an experienced consultant for site planning will result in construction and operational savings that more than return the initial investment. active shielding is often a more cost effective solution to EMI issues generated by subways and moving metal. solutions should be evaluated based upon the effectiveness of the solution and the cost to implement the solution.ETS-Lindgren uses isolators under the magnet to perform vibration surveys Further. it is critical to perform a vibration survey.kellogg@ets-lindgren.