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World’s first veterinary dual coil MRI - Hallmarq gives vets a clearer picture

Press Release   •   Sep 29, 2014 18:14 BST

After the recent launch of the innovative PetVet MRI , Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging has continued on its pioneering path to develop the first dual coil veterinary specific MRI. The ground-breaking feat of engineering incorporates the ability to use two RF receive coils simultaneously to give vets greater scope to investigate challenging anatomical regions and obtain superior images.

Just as two heads are said to be better than one, Hallmarq has demonstrated that combining two radiofrequency (RF) coils – the components responsible for receiving the electromagnetic waves - provides a significant boost in signal sensitivity across larger body areas. This is particularly advantageous for imaging bigger breeds of dog and for scanning difficult areas such as the brachial plexus region.

Dr Steve Roberts, Director of Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging, explains how the coils work in combination to gives vets a clearer picture, “Placing a second flex coil on the chest of the animal in addition to the spine coil overcomes the natural decrease in sensitivity that occurs with increasing chest depth. The patient is essentially ‘sandwiched’ between the two coils, resulting in great magnetic resonance images - even in those challenging larger breeds and for areas that are traditionally tricky to image well.”

As MRI RF coils are designed to fit closely around the area to be scanned, the shape of the coils is also vitally important says Steve, “Because PetVet is designed with the companion animal in mind and has a unique veterinary-specific, V shaped spine coil it gives superior coverage of the area when compared to the flat human spine coil that is often used in human MRI machines which are refurbished for the veterinary market.”

Eduardo Fraga Manteiga , radiologist at Southern Countries Veterinary Specialists, who has had been using the Hallmarq system for the past year, said, ‘The spine and flex dual coil system offers significantly improved performance when compared to its single coil counterpart. This case was the first clinical demonstration of the ability to use the multiple coil system in a veterinary MRI machine and showed promising results for future application. ‘

In addition to its enhanced features, the new system’s method of production is also of interest with cutting-edge 3D printing technology having been used to create the dual coil connector. The technique employs a process of multiple layering of material in accordance with a virtual image to recreate the object in tangible form. Taking a number of hours to ‘print’, the resulting product is a seamless, one-piece replica of its digital design.

The specialist PetVet MRI system will now come with the dual coil system as standard, adding to the many other advantages it holds over refurbished human scanners. For example, built-in RF shielding and no liquid helium loss means that the machine can be installed in a normal room without the need for expensive adjustments. In addition, as PetVet is specifically designed to meet the needs of veterinary practices and their patients, its superior diagnostics are supported by expert advice, maintenance and a more affordable pricing structure to make sure vets can maximise the benefits that the specialist small animal MRI system offers.

Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging is the pioneer of species-specific MRI diagnostics, being the sole global manufacturer of MRI systems specifically designed for companion animals and horses. The Hallmarq team has decades of experience in the design and manufacture of global clinical, research and industrial MRI systems for a range of applications. The company initially revolutionized the diagnosis of equine lameness with the development of the only standing MRI for horses before applying its expertise to small animal diagnostics. Established in 2001, Hallmarq's mission is to improve the safety, accuracy and cost-effectiveness of MRIs, making them affordable and profitable to veterinary clinics worldwide.