Yesterday I was provided a copy of an anonymized MRI accident / incident report which described how an MRI patient wearing a ThermaCare HeatWrap (something of a self-warming patch for muscle aches) had the wrap pulled off of them by the magnetic attraction of the MRI.
ThermaCare HeatWrap Products Contain Iron And May Be Drawn Into MRI Scanners
Once again, we’re approaching the anniversary date of the most infamous MRI fatality and the corresponding MRI Safety Week. This year, through the in-kind support of my employer, Mednovus, I’m able to make available a MRI safety quiz (actually, it’s two quizzes, one for radiology / MR staff and one for the MRI layperson).
Ferromagnetic detection for pre-MRI screening is disruptive. Not that it slows down your patient throughput (it doesn’t), or that it makes imaging problematic (it doesn’t do that, either), but it does provide an entirely new type of feedback that MR staff and Technologists have never had before. It tells us whether subjects are actually listening to the self-screening instructions we’ve been giving for years. These instruments, more precisely the feedback that they provide, does take a little getting used to. The introduction of ferromagnetic detection is often met with 5 steps towards acceptance…
What a metal detector actually does is pretty self-evident by the name of the product… it detects metals. If you’re looking for gold doubloons on the beach or trying to find an underground gas pipe, a conventional metal detector is what you want. But if you’re screening people and objects before they go into the room with the giant magnet at the heart of a magnetic resonance imager (MRI), you’re likely concerned about finding those things – like pocketknives, cell phones, iron-containing jewelry, wheelchairs, medical gas cylinders, etc… – that can be attracted to the magnet with such force that they can fly across the room.