Kopp Development?s new ferromagnetic detector, FerrAlert™ SOLO, is a highly sensitive, wall-mounted device.

In everyday life, people have become accustomed to following security protocols upon entering certain areas. We know we will be searched at airports, office buildings, and other highly sensitive environments. We sometimes don’t know what is being screened, but we assume that systems are in place to ensure our safety and the safety of others around us. Walking into an MRI suite is no different, and Kopp Development’s latest ferromagnetic detector, FerrAlert™ SOLO, is now on duty at clinics and hospitals nationwide.

Due to the dramatic increase of MRI accidents, several safety and regulatory agencies now strongly recommend the use of ferromagnetic detectors. Kopp Development first introduced FerrAlert SOLO last year at the AHRA and RSNA conferences. “We have already sold quite a few FerrAlert SOLO detectors and have bookings all the way through 2012,” said Anna Srb, director of marketing and sales at Kopp Development.

Tuba City Regional Healthcare Corporation in Arizona recently installed FerrAlert SOLO. Elizabeth Schneider, medical imaging director at Tuba City Regional Healthcare, explained that they had initially bought the wand, which they had thought would be good enough. However, after an incident involving a service engineer unwittingly bringing a toolbox into the MRI suite that was not MRI-safe, they decided to look into ferromagnetic detectors of all shapes and sizes.

One of the unique considerations when selecting the ferromagnetic detector was the limited space of the walkway into the MRI suite. “Being in a modular, space is at a premium and it takes up no space,” Schneider said. Ferr-Alert SOLO is designed to be mounted on a wall, and does not take up any floor space at all. “We couldn’t really use a walk-through detector because of the way our modular is designed. We didn’t have any room,” she added. “The SOLO works out really well for us. We have a sort of narrow walkway into where the magnet is located, and we could put the SOLO on one side, and then everybody gets scanned six to 10 feet before walking through the doors to where the magnet is.”

FerrAlert SOLO is a highly sensitive ferromagnetic detector, incorporating Kopp Development’s unique, patented technology to detect and precisely locate offending ferrous objects anywhere on the body. Developed specifically for the MRI environment, FerrAlert detectors are the only ferromagnetic detectors that identify the location of offending ferrous objects. This is a unique and time-saving feature. “It works out really well and doesn’t interfere with patient care at all. Every patient, every doctor, everybody has to walk through it. You can’t avoid it. It has a light that flashes up at the top that lets the technologist know when someone walks past it.”

Schneider’s team initially doubted the sensitivity of a wall-mounted detector versus a more traditional doorway design. Now they are convinced of its superior sensitivity. “People aren’t that big so it wasn’t as big a deal,” said Schneider. “We have tested it with paper clips in our shoes, paper clips in our hair, and it detects everything.” Tuba City Regional Healthcare serves a large Native American population. Schneider explained that many of the elderly wear pins in their hair or safety pins in their skirts and SOLO will easily pick up all of those items.

Another beneficial feature of the SOLO is the ability to set it to a more sensitive setting off-hours in the event that somebody inadvertently walks in, such as housekeeping or maintenance personnel. And with its vivid light display and audio alerts, it is hard to miss. “You never turn it off. It’s on guard 24 hours a day,” said Schneider.

“It is very efficient for our technologists because they can be scanning a patient and someone could walk up and they would be able to look and see if they are safe without even stopping what they are doing. It allows the technologists to be in two places at once.”