- MRI has a number of its own unique risk factors which, as technology and clinical practice change, have increased over time. Over a 10-year period, reported MRI accidents grew 5x faster than the growth in MR studies.
- It is impossible to tell by looking at an MR system whether it is “ON” or not. Most MR systems are “ON” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This emphasizes the importance for the clinician to know the MR status of all medical devices.
- Magnetic materials pulled–often violently–toward the magnetic bore are called “projectile effect” hazards. No item is harmless. Paperclips near a 1.5 Tesla MR magnet can reach speeds of 40 mph.
- Looped and un-looped electrocardiogram (ECG) leads, pulse oximeter cables, and MR accessories in contact with a patient under sedation can cause full thickness burns, some requiring plastic surgery.
- Nationally defined Patient Safety Indicators (PSI) is highest at urban teaching hospitals. MR utilization is highest in this same environment. With patient safety in mind, it is up to every clinician in each department to be aware of the potential hazards and complications, and work to prevent them.
Do you have a Fast Fact to share? Do you know a way to prevent an MRI complication or enhance patient safety? Send them to us and we’ll share them in our next issue!