It’s almost enough to bring my high school English teacher back from the dead… me, railing on someone else’s vocabulary skills. What I’m talking about here is the new Revo pacemaker (formerly known as Enrhythm) by Medtronic, designed to allow pacemaker patients to receive MRI scans.
I’m not big on New Years’ resolutions. In fact, I’ve previously resolved to not resolve… but today I’m breaking that vow (or would that be a ‘disavow’?). This year there are just too many things precariously poised — that could fall our way or not — that I can’t help but to resolve to rededicate myself to making substantive changes to industry standards and practices for MR safety, and here’s how I’m going to do it…
Make no mistake, Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (NSF), a horrible (and thankfully very rare) disease which can afflict persons with significantly impaired kidney function who receive certain gadolinium based MRI contrast agents. Over the past few years, tremendous resources have been poured into the identification of patients, research on the specific mechanisms of disease, and effective means of prevention. NSF has run into a problem, however, which has dramatically curtailed further research… we’ve darn-near eliminated this disease!
This, in essence, is the entirety of point-of-care safety standards for MRI.
“Hey, you, MR technologist! Make sure you know what you’re supposed to know to keep people safe around MRI.“
Make no mistake, as someone who spent a decade in college (which included a Masters degree and about half of a 2nd Bachelors), I’m a huge fan of education. What I’m adamantly opposed to – when it comes to MRI safety – is education without any standards or benchmarks, which is precisely where we find ourselves today.
Color me flattered! (which I think is the color of that shirt in the illustration)
The UK edition of Wired magazine just ran one of their ‘featurettes’ on this blog and picked their favorite (though, that’s a slightly squint word-choice for potentially deadly accidents) types of projectile accidents. Quote’s from — and a direct link to — the article follow.
Last year I highlighted an FDA MRI accident report in which a technologist had to have a pair of scissors surgically removed from his forehead after they’d caught him between the magnet-homing missile that they became, and the isocenter of the MRI. You may remember that I fauxtoshopped a hypothesis as to what that accident would have looked like on plain film: perhaps something like this… Click For More On What This Accident Was Like…
That’s right, the FDA has updated it’s MRI accident figures available online through the MAUDE database. We were alarmed and astonished when we thought that the rate of increases in MRI accidents was only 270% (from 2004 to 2008). Turns out that the FDA must have found additional accident reports that were in a stack of junk-mail, or got lost between the sofa cushions, which means that the rate if adverse events went up, significantly, in 2008 from the prior calculation.
Just a very brief note to let you know that the video of my presentation from the April MRI Safety Workshop at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City is now available for online viewing.
If you’d like to watch it, it’s in 3 parts. The first of 3 is available here (requires QuickTime viewer).Tobias Gilk, President & MRI Safety Director Mednovus, Inc. Tobias.Gilk@Mednovus.com www.MEDNOVUS.com
Yes, I’ve not kept up with my blog postings as I usually do. I’d like to tell you that it was because I’ve been spending the last month or so sipping umbrella-drinks on a sunny beach somewhere, but that’s about the furthest thing from the truth. The fact is that there have been torrents of activity, but they’re all happening below the glassy surface. For example, the radiology press has been strangely silent about the most recent MRI fatality…
I didn’t know that MRI scanners formed clubs, or gangs, but it appears that they’ve at least colluded in Stockton, California, and they’ve got it out for the municipal firefighters!