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Understanding MRI Gradients & Slew Rates

Some of the most common questions we receive here at Amber concern Gradients and Slew Rates for MRI Machines. Our customers want to know: What are they? What do they do? And mostly: Why are they important?

They certainly are common questions to ask because there aren’t many straight answers about Gradients and Slew Rates on the internet. So today, let’s try to clear up some of this Gradient and Slew Rate business shall we?

Gradients: Conducting loops of wires or foil etchings wound on shell within the scanner bore. When a current is passed through the coils, a secondary magnetic field is created called a gradient field.

MRI gradients

Slew Rate: Speed at which the gradient reaches its maximum amplitude. Usually quotes in evaluating gradient performance. You’ll get better clarity in images when you have a higher slew rate. Slew rate is measured in mT/m/msec.

I bet you’re wondering if a higher slew rate in an MRI machine automatically means a better quality machine. Not necessarily. Yes, a higher slew rate will mean better clarity in images, but it also will mean that the MRI machine itself will be much more expensive the higher the slew rate.

At the end of the day, you want to think about how many studies and more importantly, the types of studies you’ll be performing, in correlation with slew rate. You’ll want to consider higher slew rates and stronger gradients especially if you’ll be performing cardiac or brain imaging. For imaging such as orthopedics, however, high slew rates may not be necessary.

If you are interested in learning more about Gradients and Slew Rates and how they affect your MRI purchase, our dedicated sales professionals can surely help. Contact them here today.

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