Three steps to lower energy consumption in MRI

Among modern imaging modalities, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is probably the most power-hungry technology that is regularly used in clinical routine. One radiology practice network used a three-step approach to energy saving in their MRI departments.

Doris Pischitz
Published on February 26, 2024

If the healthcare industry were a country, it would be the fifth largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world [1]. For freestanding centers, imaging equipment alone can represent more than 19 percent of energy costs [2].

Portrait photo of Prof. Mike Notohamiprodjo, MD, Managing Director, DIE RADIOLOGIE, Munich, Germany

As a first, acute measure, DIE RADIOLOGIE shortened many protocols without compromising on patient care. In MRI, the longer the scan time, the more energy is used [3]. An “eco” set of often-used protocols was implemented that was specifically designed to reduce the energy consumption of the systems. Particularly for musculoskeletal studies, which make up a large portion of the network’s examinations, they shortened scan times by optimizing the acquisition protocols, which saved between 30 seconds to one minute per sequence. The resulting time savings translated directly into energy savings and enabled a higher patient throughput.
<p>After a joint fleet analysis together with Siemens Healthineers, DIE RADIOLOGIE started using the systems’ software-based <a href="Eco Power Mode">Eco Power Mode</a> to optimize their cooling cycles. Eco Power Mode reduces the energy consumption of the MRI system when the system is in standby mode or shut off. While 60 to 70 percent of an MRI’s total energy consumption is used for the refrigeration of the magnet, this is not constantly needed when the system is idle<sup>1</sup> such as during nights or weekends. The close monitoring of helium levels showed that they were not affected by compressor cycles, while energy consumption during idle times decreased by 30 percent—or up to four two-person households’ consumption—per scanner annually.</p>

MRI plays a fundamental role in the diagnosis of many diseases and supports clinicians across the world in caring for their patients every day. Yet, it is also a fact that MRI is among the most energy-demanding equipment within radiology departments. As a consequence, we provide technological solutions that reduce the ecological footprint of MRI and contribute to a more sustainable future in healthcare.

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Portrait photo of Prof. Mike Notohamiprodjo, MD, Managing Director, DIE RADIOLOGIE, Munich, Germany

<p>Additional effort went into the adoption of further protocol acceleration, this time through artificial intelligence (AI). The deep learning-based algorithms of <a href="" target="_blank">Deep Resolve</a> Boost allow for shorter acquisition times and improvement of image quality—overcoming the “holy triangle” of time, signal-to-noise ratio, and resolution. To assess the effects, DIE RADIOLOGIE focused on one of their MAGNETOM Sola systems. They measured the energy consumption once again and, together with Siemens Healthineers, analyzed the protocols and scan time in correlation to energy consumption. They were able to shorten the acquisition times once more while increasing the <a href="matrix">matrix</a> compared with the previously optimized protocols and thereby achieve even better image quality.</p><p><br></p>
The matrix refers to the grid of pixels that make up the image. A larger matrix size will increase the number of pixels in the image but, as they are still within the same field of view, each pixel will be smaller, and the resulting resolution will be higher.
<p>The evaluation of the installed scanners and the combination of shortened protocols, Eco Power Mode, and AI-enabled image processing supported a significant reduction in energy consumption—while improving image quality and increasing patient throughput. DIE RADIOLOGIE is currently evaluating their fleet size and is expecting to perform more examinations per scanner. Implementing all measures in their entire fleet of 12 MRI systems from Siemens Healthineers will lead to annual savings of €250,000 and an impressive 216 tons of CO2 savings—the equivalent of 17 two-person households.</p>

By Doris Pischitz
Doris Pischitz is an editor in corporate communications at Siemens Healthineers. The team specializes in topics related to healthcare, medical technology, disease areas, and digitalization.