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Exploring MRI Compatible Anesthesia Machines

December 6, 2022

Avante Integra SL-MRI Anesthesia Machine

History of Anesthesia 

Anesthesia has been used in medical practices for millennia. People of antiquity used localized pressure and medicinal plants to dull pain or render a patient semi-unconscious. As civilization evolved so did these archaic anesthetic techniques. In the mid-19th century, William T.G. Morton began administering sulfuric ether during surgery. More impressive than the discovery and usage of this gas, however, was the delivery system Morton designed: an ether inhaler instrument that regulated inhalation of the gas to the patient. Through Morton’s discovery, the field of anesthesiology was born. Today, anesthesiology continues to progress and provide safety and comfort for patients worldwide.  

The Modern Machine  

Modern anesthesia machines are pneumatic devices that deliver oxygen, gas, and anesthetic agents to patients undergoing surgery or other procedures. The benefits of anesthesia machines are three-fold. Anesthesia machines render the patient unconscious, eliminate pain during the procedure, and regulate the patient’s breathing. Today, the overall design and functioning of anesthesia machines largely remains the same. However, the use of anesthesia machines continues to progress to serve patients in a variety of healthcare settings.  

Anesthesia for MRI  

One relatively new setting for the anesthesia machine is the MRI suite. Although an MRI is not an invasive or surgical procedure, patients and medical professionals alike can benefit from the use of an anesthesia machine during the scan. One of the most widely known uses of anesthesia during an MRI is to ensure claustrophobic patients receive the medical tests and treatment they need. During an MRI patients must lie still in a tight tube for scans that can last up to two hours. Movement restriction in the tight space coupled with the noise of the machine make many patients feel claustrophobic and unable to complete the scan. However, with the help of an anesthesia machine, patients are safely sedated and able to complete the scan without incident.  

Other patients who benefit from anesthesia during an MRI include:  

  • Infants and children  
  • Patients with learning disorders  
  • Patients with movement disorders  
  • Ventilated and other ITU patients 

Anesthesia provides relief from anxiety and pain sometimes associated with an MRI while also ensuring patients remain motionless to produce the clearest images physicians need.  


While anesthesia machines have proven to be helpful and often necessary in the MRI room, joining the two devices has not always been possible. Because of the anesthesia machine’s ferromagnetic (iron-containing) parts, it is unsafe and unable to be stationed in the MRI room. Ferromagnetic devices can disrupt the images of the scan, and the devices can even be pulled into the magnetic field. New non-ferromagnetic machines have been developed for this reason. These machines, deemed MR-conditional, contain little to no iron and are allowed to be near the MRI machine. The anesthesia machine’s proximity to the MRI machine makes patient care and stability much easier.  

Penlon Prima 451 MRI Anesthesia Machine  

Avante Health Solutions is moving the fields of anesthesiology and imaging forward with the Penlon Prima 451 MRI Anesthesia Machine. The machine is an advanced anesthesia system designed specifically for the MRI suite and is currently the only machine proven compatible for use with 3.0 Tesla MRI scanners including those from Philips and GE. Its unique, compact design allows it to safely maneuver in the MRI room, providing patients with advanced anesthesia with six ventilation modes and patient support for spontaneous breathing. The Penlon Prima 451 MRI Anesthesia Machine is a state-of-the-art machine available to make an MRI scan safer, more comfortable, and more effective than ever before.  


Avante Health Solutions is moving healthcare forward. We are an industry-leading provider of diagnostic imaging, medical-surgical, patient monitoring, and ultrasound equipment. As a comprehensive provider, we partner with our customers from consultation and installation to service, repair, and ongoing technical support.