Preliminary Development of a MRI-compatible Syringe Pump Adapter


  • Charlene Leung Biomedical Engineering, University of British Columbia
  • Stephan Malherbe B.C. Children’s Hospital Research Institute, B.C. Children’s Hospital
  • Anthony Chan Biomedical Engineering, University of British Columbia Biomedical Engineering, British Columbia Institute of Technology


In pediatric magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), an anesthetic agent is often administered using an infusion pump to ease the child’s discomfort and reduce their movement during the scan. Conventional infusion pumps, however, are prohibited from the scanner room due to its ferromagnetic and metallic components. The interaction between these materials and the scanner’s strong magnetic fields can lead to patient injury or death. Commercially available MRI-compatible pumps are expensive, have different user interfaces than conventional in-house pumps, and do not offer a standby function which is critical in a clinical pediatric setting. Common but cumbersome, unsustainable and wasteful work-around solutions involve directly infusing the anesthetic using consecutive extension intravenous (IV) lines connected to an infusion pump in an adjacent room. The MRI Syringe Pump Adapter (SPA) acts as an intermediate device that facilitates the transfer of the infusion rate delivered by the pump to the anesthetic-filled patient syringe. The preliminary development process of the MRI SPA consisted of needs finding through clinical interviews and observations, concept generation, risk analysis, rapid prototyping, and testing. The SPA costs $32, can be 3D-printed in less than 2 hours, and is constructed of ABS- M30 plastic. Preliminary verification tests revealed the system transfers the infusion rate from the syringe pump to the patient with an acceptable 10% accuracy. This setup, however, created a significant increase in the line pressure, which requires further investigation and mitigation. Continual development and testing are being performed to verify the accuracy and pressure profile of the SPA system.




How to Cite

C. Leung, S. Malherbe, and A. Chan, “Preliminary Development of a MRI-compatible Syringe Pump Adapter”, CMBES Proc., vol. 40, no. 1, May 2017.



Clinical Engineering