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Child-friendly MRI designed to divert

SICK youngsters in South Australia will be the first to experience a hi-tech radiology unit, custom-built to distract and delight patients while they undergo scans using the latest magnetic resonance imaging technology. The first local installation of Philips’s fully digital Ingenia MR system will be unveiled today at Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital, with the companion ambient lighting suite that creates a visual fantasy land. Radiology head Rebecca Linke says everyone has been “blown away” by the unit, which replaces a 10-year-old machine well past its use-by date. “We went to market for an MR product that was pediatric-friendly while offering all the technical features we needed,” Dr Linke said. “Ingenia ticked all the boxes, and especially the Ambient’s ability to create an entertaining environment to engage children and decrease anxiety.” Unlike a photo or general X-ray taken in a split second, MR scanners produce detailed cross-sections of parts of the body, through various sequences. Each set of images takes two to three minutes to acquire, and if the patient moves, the whole scan has to be repeated. The system should also mean less sedation is needed. There is a three-month waiting list for MR under a general anaesthetic because most children under five cannot lie still without it. The South Australian government has spent about $2.3 million on the new machine and local children’s charity Little Heroes Foundation has provided a further $1m for the Ambient suite.

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