Health & Environmental Research Online (HERO)

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Journal Article 
Evaluation of the RF heating of a generic deep brain stimulator exposed in 1.5 T magnetic resonance scanners 
Cabot, E; Lloyd, T; Christ, A; Kainz, W; Douglas, M; Stenzel, G; Wedan, S; Kuster, N 
ISSN: 0197-8462
EISSN: 1521-186X 
The radio frequency (RF) electromagnetic field of magnetic resonance (MR) scanners can result in significant tissue heating due to the RF coupling with the conducting parts of medical implants. The objective of this article is to evaluate the advantages and shortcomings of a new four-tier approach based on a combined numerical and experimental procedure, designed to demonstrate safety of implants during MR scans. To the authors' best knowledge, this is the first study analyzing this technique. The evaluation is performed for 1.5 T MR scanners using a generic model of a deep brain stimulator (DBS) with a straight lead and a helical lead. The results show that the approach is technically feasible and provides sound and conservative information about the potential heating of implants. We demonstrate that (1) applying optimized tools results in reasonable uncertainties for the overall evaluation; (2) each tier reduces the overestimation by several dB at the cost of more demanding evaluation steps; (3) the implant with the straight lead would cause local temperature increases larger than 18 °C at the RF exposure limit for the normal operating mode; (4) Tier 3 is not sufficient for the helical implant; and (5) Tier 4 might be too demanding to be performed for complex implants. We conclude with a suggestion for a procedure that follows the same concept but is between Tier 3 and 4. In addition, the evaluation of Tier 3 has shown consistency with current scan practice, namely, the resulting heat at the lead tip is less than 3.5 °C for the straight lead and 0.7 °C for the helix lead for scans at the current applied MR scan restrictions for deep brain stimulation at a head average SAR of 0.1 W/kg.