from left: Medrad’s Cardiovasular Array surface coil, Toshiba’s Ultra Open MRI, Philips’ Intera 3T MRI

There was a day not too long ago when MRI was only for large, academic healthcare facilities. No more. MRI systems have infiltrated a variety of sizes and types of facilities, accomplishing an even wider variety of procedures. Systems with field strengths at the high end and low end are gaining the most attention these days, with open systems holding their popularity with patients as they continue to gain strength and functionality from their higher field 1.5T cousins. Higher field units are increasing in applications, often at greatly reduced scanning times. 3T units from a variety of vendors are grabbing more attention than expected, too.


Toshiba America Medical Systems (TAMS of Tustin, Calif.) rolled out its new Ultra 0.35 tesla open MRI system at RSNA 2002. Primary features of the Opart spin-off include a gradient technology intended to deliver advanced clinical capabilities and resolution normally associated with high-field closed MRI systems.

Toshiba’s Ultra has MRI gradient field technology featuring an amplitude of 25 mT/m (milli-tesla per meter) and a slew rate of 100 T/m/s (tesla per meter per second). The slew rate allows the Ultra’s gradient speed to perform approximately five times faster than current open systems and 250 percent greater than high-field counterparts. The result, TAMS says, are clinical capabilities that are comparable to those of high-field MRI systems.

Please refer to the January 2003 issue for the complete story. For information on article reprints, contact Martin St. Denis