And what’s even more alarming is that 20% of those implant patients that get MRIs experience some sort of device malfunction afterward! And yet, the dangers of imaging these patients are not well known by the doctors who prescribe these imaging studies.
The National Council on Aging just released a study which details these alarming numbers. The matter-of-fact language of their release did nothing to diminish my welling fear as the study went on to detail chronic failures in our healthcare system to educate, alert, and prevent the dangers inherent in MR imaging of medical implant patients. Here are a few of the particulars:
- Medical implant patients over age 65 have between a 50% and 75% chance of requiring imaging during the useful life of their implant.
- While 90% of physicians knew of MRI risks for some pacemakers, over half of doctors say that they aren’t informed about imaging limitations when a patient is implanted.
- Nearly a third of patients who receive medical implants are not informed of MRI restrictions.
- After exposed to the MRI risks to their implant, nearly 20% of these device patients experience some sort of problem or malfunction with their implant.
The near universal opinion (98%) of healthcare providers is that they require additional information and training on these MRI safety risks.
Let’s hope that regulatory (FDA and States) and accreditation (JCAHO, ACR, and IC) bodies for MR imaging look at ways that they can take a more active role in promoting education and protecting these patients.Tobias Gilk, President & MRI Safety Director Mednovus, Inc. Tobias.Gilk@Mednovus.com www.MEDNOVUS.com