When our sales staff talks to cath lab customers about “refurbished cath labs” the ambiguity of the phrase frequently comes to light. There are a number of imaging equipment vendors who offer refurbished systems, but many of them don’t really discuss what they do when they refurbish a cath lab.
We can’t speak for the others, but the processes below are what we do to return used cath lab equipment to OEM specifications for performance and image quality:
The table is disassembled down to its frame. All the components are thoroughly cleaned and inspected for damage. Bearings, cables, connectors, and mechanical pieces are repaired or replaced as needed. The frame and external parts are moved to our paint booth and refinished with OEM-quality paint products matched to OEM color schemes.
The table is then reassembled. A second inspection is performed on any reused parts as they are put back on the table. When the last pieces are back on, the table is thoroughly tested for operations per OEM specifications.
C-Arm and Positioner:
The c-arm and positioner are disassembled, cleaned, and inspected like the table. Pieces and parts that are damaged are also replaced. The exterior portions are taken to the paint booth with the rest of the system’s covers.
When the c-arm and positioner are reassembled, they undergo mechanical testing to ensure a full range of smooth motion in all directions and orientations.
For cath labs that have image intensifiers, after disassembly, cleaning, reassembly, and reinstallation on the system, test images are taken with system phantoms. These images are used as a starting point for collimator calibration.
For cath lab systems that have digital detectors, our engineering team runs what’s called a “dark image test”. This is a pre-calibration step that is focused on the pixels of the detector. Every digital detector has bad pixels. Regardless of the brand, model, or modality, the come from the manufacturer that way. However, if the detector passes the dark image test, we know the bad pixels will be nullified during calibration.
During the refurbishment of the c-arm, extra care is taken with the x-ray tube. The high voltage ports are cleaned and regreased, and the oil in the tube is changed. It is then tested for image noise, arcing, and correct power. If a customer would like to have brand-new glassware installed, a fresh x-ray tube can be provided upon request.
The covers are removed from these cabinets and taken to the booth for painting. After the painting is done, the cabinets are moved back to the staging bay where all electrical components undergo inspection, reseating, and, if needed, replacement.
When the cabinets are fully reassembled, they are connected to the rest of the system and the cath lab is tested as a whole. In this stage of the process calibrations are performed to set the system functions at or above the OEC-specified baseline for image quality and to comply with FDA-mandated regulations for x-ray dosage.
As we’ve said before, the keys to a quality cath lab refurbishment process are the same as a quality refurbishment process for any product: thoroughness and product expertise. With knowledgeable engineers and a detail-oriented approach to both functionality and cosmetics, you can be sure that you’re getting an outstanding refurbished cath lab system.
If you’re in the market for a quality refurbished cath lab, we can help you find one. Contact us to learn more about cath lab interventional equipment.
Written by Chris Sharrock
Chris Sharrock is the Fluoroscopy Product Manager at Block Imaging. Sometimes referred to as the “The C-Arm Guy”, Chris has a passion for music, fitness and genuinely enjoys helping others make decisions about c-arms and fluoroscopy equipment. You can download Chris’ very popular “C-Arm Buyer’s Guide” or connect with him here.
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