RTM Engineering Consultants understands the complexity of healthcare and has extensive experience designing and creating engineering solutions for health facilities. The company’s healthcare portfolio encompasses 500+ projects for more than 75 clients around the country.
RTM recently published a whitepaper, “The Importance of MEP Design in MRI Suites,” which outlines the unique specifications required for mechanical, electrical, plumbing (MEP), and fire protection (FP) systems when designing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) suites.
Effective MEP/FP designs allow medical professionals to focus on their primary goal of delivering the best quality of patient care possible and gives them the tools they need to succeed.
Because an MRI uses a powerful magnet to create an intense magnetic field—roughly a thousand times the strength of the earth’s magnetic field— and radio frequency (RF), MRI equipment is sensitive to many external influences. MRI suites must be carefully constructed to safeguard each piece of equipment against factors including temperature, humidity, air pressure, and electrical interference, all while establishing a safe and healthy environment for patients and staff.
Inside the magnet room, maintaining proper temperature and humidity is essential, and HVAC systems are important for keeping equipment regulated to the vendor’s or manufacturer’s requirements. MRI scanners use cryogens to keep the magnet cool, but in the instance of an emergency shutdown, there’s a risk of cryogens leaking when the magnet loses superconductivity. Emergency exhaust systems are installed to vent cryogen gas from the building.
An MRI requires a stable magnetic field for its imaging process, and it must be protected from radio frequencies. The magnet room uses RF shields—generally thin sheets of copper foil, aluminum, or galvanized steel covering floors, ceilings, doors, and windows—to prevent disruptions. Within the RF field, all ductwork, hangers, and supports also have to be made from non-ferrous materials, since ferromagnetic items can interfere with MRI operations.