Liquid helium is the coldest element on earth—and now in short supply. This is problematic since liquid helium is used to keep MR magnets cool and magnetic currents superconductive.
As a rule, MR systems require 2,000 liters of liquid helium for cooling. But now, suppliers are curbing how liquid helium is allocated. NBC News recently reported that suppliers are providing liquid helium to customers based on their respective needs.
Premier Inc. Regional Construction Manager Donna Craft told NBC News, “Helium is on allocation now. We’re probably not blowing up balloons in the gift shop anymore.” Premier Inc contracts with helium suppliers for 4,000+ hospitals.
The war in Ukraine has also impacted the supply of liquid helium, as the United States has relied on Russia to alleviate the burden of a tight supply.
Russia was to provide almost one-third of the world’s helium with a new facility. However, last January a fire halted production. In addition, the war has stopped trade between Russia and the U.S.
Four out of five major helium suppliers are now prioritizing healthcare providers due to the vital need for MR imaging. Other less essential customers are receiving reduced allotments of liquid helium. In addition, the cost of liquid helium has risen as much as 30 percent.
GE Healthcare Chief Marketing Officer for MR Ioannis Panagiotelis says, “Every industry and hospital with an MR system has been affected.” This is especially alarming since radiology experts say that 3D images are irreplaceable and rely on liquid helium.
Atlantis Worldwide is Here For You
If you are looking for medical imaging equipment for your healthcare facility, talk to the experts at Atlantis Worldwide. Oftentimes a refurbished or used MRI, CT Scanner or other medical imaging system can provide the performance you want at a much lower cost. Plus, you still get the benefit of robust warranties.
Some blogs you may have missed:
- The Future of Helium & MRIs
- MRI Cold Head Tips
- How Much Is Your MRI Worth?
- Solutions For MRI Coil Failure
- Should your business lease or buy medical imaging equipment?
- Free MRI Resources
Meet the author: Vikki Harmonay