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Wales to receive first open MRI scanner

Tuesday 14th February 2017
Wales is set to receive its first open MRI scanner, which is designed to prevent patients from feeling claustrophobia. Image: Photo_Concepts via iStock
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Claustrophobia can be a problem for some patients who need to undergo advanced X-rays and scans, but a new radiology machine to be based in Wales aims to tackle this issue.

Wales Online reports that the first upright machine able to perform magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans in the country will be installed at Cardiff's new European Scanning Centre (ESC).

This could have significant benefits for radiologists, who may be able to receive better-quality images to aid their diagnoses if patients are more relaxed in their surroundings without feelings of claustrophobia.

Most MRI scanners require patients to lie down, meaning that some can feel trapped as the machinery moves and whirrs around them. Staying still is vital for clear scan images, but claustrophobic feelings can lead to people moving around, hampering the results of the scan.

To be known as MrOpen, the scanner allows patients to stand or sit while the machinery works around them. It is completely open above their heads to prevent feelings of claustrophobia and to put individuals at greater ease.

If the installation of the innovative scanner proves to be a success, it could pave the way for X-ray techniques to also be adapted in new ways in order to ensure greater comfort for patients.

The new ESC site at Cardiff Gate Business Park will be the third European Scanning Centre to open in the UK, as there are already sites in London and Manchester.

However, it will be the only site in Europe to feature an open MRI scanner, of which there are currently only five others in Britain.

Dr Paul Jenkins, chief executive of the centre, explained: "We're greatly looking forward to opening our new Welsh office. We're excited to be able to offer the only open MRI scanner to patients in Wales and the south of England. The easy access to Cardiff Gate from the M4 was a contributing factor in deciding the location of the new clinic."

Written by Megan Smith

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