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Spectrum analyzers can help cancer patients receive an accurate MRI

2023-02-26  |  7 min read 

The World Health Organization states that early cancer identification greatly increases the chances of survival for many cancer types. The rationale is that with early detection, treatment options may be simpler, with significantly lower costs and time, to provide the care that cancer patients require.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a powerful technique for detecting cancer and for searching for evidence that it has spread. It also helps doctors quickly identify issues inside a patient's body. Moreover, MRI can assist doctors in planning cancer treatments like radiation or surgery. This technique sends pulse RF currents to the patient's body to produce an image that aids in diagnosis. These are images of the body's soft tissue and organs, which are sometimes difficult to observe with other imaging techniques. This gives medical professionals the opportunity to identify soft-tissue tumors and cancer stages, and to determine if a tumor is malignant or benign, so they can plan and manage the treatment accordingly. In addition, the presence of metastases, or if cancer has spread to other organs, can be determined by MRI. It is also feasible to determine the tumor's location, size, and impact on the nearby tissue structures (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Imaging technique to locate health issues

MRI technique forces protons in the body to align with the magnetic field created by the strong magnets used in MRI machines. When a radiofrequency current is pulsed through the patient, it activates the protons and spins them out of equilibrium, which causes them to strain against the pull of the magnetic field. MRI sensors detect the energy produced as the protons realign with the magnetic field, when the radiofrequency field is switched off. 

To provide top-notch MRI services to cancer patients, hospitals must always have access to the greatest and most modern tools and technology. This is the reason that hospitals employ spectrum analyzers to detect, analyze, and identify signals while looking for interference that can impair the accuracy and performance of MRI scanners. In order to test, monitor, or calibrate equipment, MRI specialists can view a wide variety of radiofrequency signals with the use of Keysight's spectrum analyzers (signal analyzers) at a precise moment.

MRI interference detection and monitoring

Institutions that specialize in cancer diagnosis use radiofrequency-based medical devices like MRI scanners and RFID trackers. It is critical to avoid signal disruptions during MRI scans since the radiofrequency current has to pass through the patient's body uninterrupted for maximum performance. It is also important to reduce the impact of consumer product wireless interference on medical equipment, such as MRI machines, as the number of connected gadgets in a hospital environment continues to increase. The spectrum analyzers' Real-Time Spectrum Analysis (RTSA) software is a useful tool for monitoring the signal and possible interferences. The measurement system must have enough capture bandwidth to pick up RF pulses, dynamic signals, and transient signals (Figure 2). In order to guarantee reliable MRI imaging quality for cancer patients, high-speed, and gap-free measurement capabilities are essential for identifying, locating, and fixing interference issues.

Figure 2. Real-time spectrum analysis for monitoring the signal and interferences

Additionally, hospitals utilize RFID trackers for a variety of equipment, vehicles, and medical devices, an example is the RFID wristband that patients wear. The RFID band acts as the patient's identity in the medical facility and contains data, including patients’ names, medical histories, and other information important to their care. A hospital can track the patient using RFID bracelets for their own security and safety. Spectrum analyzers can detect interference signals and evaluate the effectiveness and performance of RFID-tagged supplies.

Wireless signal coverage monitoring

In order to accommodate diverse types of treatments, hospitals and other medical institutions frequently have complicated structures created using specialized construction materials. As a result, equipment that uses radiofrequency may not connect well in particular rooms due to radio path loss. For MRI installation or RFID use, a room constructed with thicker concrete might not be optimal due to attenuation.

Medical staff can use spectrum analyzers to assess signal strength and find any connection problems in order to reduce attenuation, ensure signal coverage, and guarantee robust connectivity. For instance, the technicians can do tests in the MRI rooms before admitting patients to make sure the testing will be precise, comfortable, and interruption-free.

MRI site survey accuracy and efficiency

Hospital personnel also conduct site surveys to guarantee that testing or diagnostic rooms with RF-based medical equipment receive protection against stray radio waves in addition to routinely maintaining MRI scanners or RFID devices. It is crucial to identify and block these undesirable signals as soon as possible because they might have a negative impact on the reliability of diagnostic results and the overall effectiveness of the equipment.
For instance, RF emissions from radios or mobile phones should not exist in MRI rooms. Hospitals designate technicians to undertake surveys to make sure that the equipment is secure from interruptions in addition to the structure that shields the scanner from these interferences. Using conventional testing techniques can be expensive, time-consuming, and inefficient. Hence, hospitals and cancer patients can benefit from spectrum analyzers, due to the increased accuracy and efficiency, and convenient testing. 

Medical experts, more than ever, employ MRI imaging tests to identify cancer, treat, and monitor it. Because of the value they provide to hospitals and cancer patients, Keysight spectrum analyzers are an excellent choice for funding healthcare facilities, and making a significant positive impact on cancer patients’ lives.