Contrast Media Injector Systems - Preventative Maintenance and Common Problems

Dry imaging cameras and contrast media injectors are routinely used accessories in Computed Tomography (CT), Interventional Radiology and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Usually, our knowledge of such contrast media injectors is largely superficial. However, advances in medical science and technology have made it imperative to have a thorough understanding of various aspects regarding such contrast media injector systems.

Along with the technological advances, several methodologies have been adopted with contrast media injector technology, which help in automated data collection to track the dosage of a patient and reduced cost due to less contrast waste. The amount of contrast used with such systems is precisely controlled by automated injector systems. Vendors are now backed-up with IT services offering useful information from an electronic medical record (EMR) or picture archiving and communication system (PACS), which helps on providing personalized doses for patients. Contrast dose recording software also opens new opportunities for radiologists looking to streamline and document their data of contrast media usage. Some vendors also provide X-ray radiation dose recording capabilities integrated within their software suite.

In a recent report published by Allied Market Research, the contrast injector system market was valued at $554.38 million in 2016 and is expected to reach $954.62 million by 2023, registering a CAGR of 8.1% during the forecast period. Despite being rarely advertised as the most sought-after piece of equipment in their department, contrast media injector systems play a vital role. They are used to inject observable substances at specific locations inside the human body. Typically, the lifespan of an average contrast media injector spans across 5-7 years; however, you can extend the life of such devices with regular preventive maintenance of the system.

·       Performance testing of such devices should be conducted at least once a year to ensure that the equipment is operating according to factory specifications. However, experts suggest that bi-annual performance testing is preferable for devices used in high demand areas.
·         It is extremely important to ensure electrical safety. Regular checks should be carried out for all electrical connections to make sure there isn’t any threat of shock or other hazards. These maintenances should also include checking cables, cleaning cases, monitoring lights and internal circuits, and replacing any damaged parts.

Probable threats to a contrast media injector system:

Time and again, there are chances of a more serious problem to take place within your contrast media injector system. Following is a list of the most common issues that arise in any such system:

·         Contrast soaking onto optical sensors – In such cases, the protective casing should be removed, and the contrast fluid should be cleansed with an alcohol pad. Please note that the cleaned internals must be thoroughly dried-up before switching the system again.

·         Cable and connection issues – Since the contrast media injectors are used very frequently in a day, the system can experience connection issues such as loose cables. Pulling, stretching or rolling of the cables can result breakage, fraying or kinking. In such cases, damaged cables need to be replaced with new ones.

·         A leak – A leakage in your contrast media injector system is the most dreadful threat to your equipment. As soon as the source of the leak is determined, the part should be replaced, and all the surrounding pieces should be properly cleaned, dried out, and then repowered.

Increased complexity of a contrast media injector system means decreased patient safety. In addition, such systems come with a hefty investment and operational cost. Nowadays, the innovations and advanced systems add incremental improvements. Operators tend to ignore the completely new, and possibly easier, solutions that require some radical changes of the base system. The concern should be on the need for doing the task safely and reliably while addressing the user’s apprehension of an ever-increasing cost for the health care delivery.

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