On the one hand, C-Arm machines seem to be very durable and are built to last. They get banged around in operating rooms and down hospital hallways and they still keep trucking.
On the other hand, you are still dealing with a very sophisticated piece of highly sensitive equipment. And considering the fact that you’ve spent anywhere from $25,000 to $200,000 to purchase your C-Arm, you want to be sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. So to help towards that end, here are...
5 Sure Fire Ways to Extend the Life of Your C-Arm:
- Get an Annual PM - Preventative Maintenance (PM) is the best way to recognize any developing issues, maintain good image quality, and address the small problems before they turn into big problems. Make sure your service engineer tests and replaces your batteries as necessary. The engineer should evaluate the cables, brakes, wheels, and all mechanical assemblies. They should replace clock and memory batteries in the Workstation and C-Arm. Address issues before they come up. Before your system is spitting error codes, or is hard down, call in a qualified service engineer. This will save you a lot of headache down the road.
- Plug in C-Arm When Not in Use - Generator batteries are key to generating higher techniques. They are not cheap and they don’t last forever. But they will last longer if kept charged.
- Regular Cleaning - Start with the obvious: keyboard, C-Arm covers/in-between covers if you can, the tube and image intensifier. Then work your way to the fan filters. For OEC models, they are located on the back side of the monitor cart near the bottom. Dust always piles up there and can cause a series of electrical issues. Also, don’t ignore the wheels of both the C-Arm and monitor cart. Time and time again we see sutures and other items that get stuck in the wheels which affect braking and drivability. If you’d like to see more information on how we decontaminate C-Arms during our refurbishment process, download our free C-Arm decontamination guide.
- Use Drapes - 9 out of every 10 used C-Arms have blood and contrast media that has seeped through the covers and gets caked on the tube. #1) moisture and electronics don’t mix well. #2) having blood and other human bio in your C-Arm is a major liability to both your techs and your patients. It’s a very simple and relatively inexpensive fix… use protective C-Arm drapes during your procedures!
- Protect Monitors by Adjusting the Sleep Mode Setting – Just like a computer, most C-Arms have a sleep mode which essentially lets the system go idle after a certain amount of time of inactivity. These sleep mode times can range anywhere from 5 minutes to 99 minutes. In many cases, the shorter the sleep mode time the better, particularly on units that have CRT monitors since the images will get burned in after the system stays on for long periods of time. It is neither cheap nor easy to replace the CRT monitors on your system so be sure to adjust the sleep mode setting for a shorter interval.
Use these tips to keep your C-Arm running as efficiently as possible... for as long as possible. You can also download our FREE C-Arm Decontamination Guide to help ensure that you and others are working with safe C-Arm surfaces for the duration of your C-Arm ownership!
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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.