Fear and Clothing In MRI-Land: An MRI Safety Tale

Near the end of last year I posted an article from an RSNA ‘tip of the day’ regarding external fixation, halo, hardware and ferromagnetic risks. Now, in the first few weeks of 2010 we learn of new MRI safety risks from orthopedic hardware that may be more common than halo systems, scoliosis body braces.

External fixation and braces are typically very carefully screened for contraindication for MRI examination, but what may not be as frequently screened is the clothing underneath. We’ve received a report of a patient who received a burn from the specialty T-shirt, worn under their brace! The T-shirt, which included electrically-conductive silver fibers, purportedly acted as an RF antennae and produced focal heating.

This incident, like so many others, goes to show how so many risks in the MRI environment, such as concealed ferromagnetic threats, can be difficult to find if you don’t have the proper tools and knowledge with which to look for them.

Every MRI provider should avail themselves of the latest MRI safety information, standards, recommendations and peer accounts of accidents and near-misses in order to deploy the greatest protections, both for their patients and for their own risk management. For burn risks, this means diligent screening of everything that accompanies the patient into the bore. For ferromagnetic (projectile) risks, this includes the use of ferromagnetic detection systems.

Tobias Gilk, President & MRI Safety Director
Mednovus, Inc.

Click here for Tobias’ Twitter Profile

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