New MRI Arriving at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital

A special delivery, in the form of a new MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) unit, arrives at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital on Saturday, Mar. 24.

The delivery involves taking the old unit out and bringing the new machine into the hospital through the main entrance.

To prepare for the move, five sets of hallway doors have been removed so the machines can be moved safely through the building. There will be no access through the hospital’s main entrance until early Sunday morning after the exterior doors are reinstalled. Detour signs will be in place on the main floor (Level 2) of the hospital to help direct staff, patient and visitor traffic.

Work starts around 6 a.m. on Saturday to remove the old MRI. It will be rolled on a track through the main corridor and out of the building. Once the old MRI has been removed, the new unit will be lifted by crane onto the track system and slowly rolled into the diagnostic imaging department. This work is expected to take several hours.

To ensure the safety of patients, visitors and employees during the move, the following steps are being taken:

• Movement along the main hallway on Level 2 will be restricted

• Anyone who needs emergency care will be able to access the front Emergency Department (ED) entrance. This entrance is for ED patients and their visitors only.

• Vehicle traffic will be re-routed away from the front entrance. People arriving at the hospital on Saturday will be directed by security to use the rear parking lots and entrances.

• Staff, volunteers and security will be on hand at the rear entrances to help people with directions to their destinations

• To help ease traffic flow in and out of the hospital on Saturday, the public is asked that where possible, to limit visiting

• Hospital employees are reminded to use the rear parking lots and rear entrances

Installation, testing and commissioning of the new unit is expected to take about 12 weeks. Project completion and the start-up of the new unit is expected in late spring. A gradual return to full-capacity will follow.

The new MRI replaces the unit that has been in service since 2004. Funding for the new unit was announced by the provincial government last September. The majority of funding for the new $2.2 million unit came through provincial government. The Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation helped raise the community contribution of up to $250,000 towards the installation and purchase of the new unit.

• MRI uses both magnetic fields and radio waves to scan the human body making incredibly detailed three dimensional images of the body’s soft tissues.

• MRI is used to diagnose cancers, strokes, seizures, brain tumours, damage to joints etc.

• The new MRI unit includes a large electromagnet which weighs approximately 11,173 pounds (about 5,068 kilograms).

• It is over eight feet long, six feet wide and seven feet high (over 246 centimetres long, 183 centimetres wide and 238 centimetres).

• The new MRI provides faster, more efficient scanning, can accommodate and perform scans on some larger patients and provides better image quality.

• On average, the MRI unit at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital performs more than 6,300 exams per year.


The removal of the old MRI and delivery of the new one begins at approximately 6 a.m. and could take several hours. To arrange parking and photographic, videotaping and interview opportunities on Saturday, Mar. 24, contact:

Lynn Gilbert
Communications & Public Relations