Measures such as screening, labelling, and restricting access are used to prevent the entry of potential projectiles into the MRI environment
- MRI facilities employ strict policies to ensure screening procedures are implemented for the detection of potential projectiles prior to their entry into the MRI environment.
- All individuals entering the MRI environment are screened before each procedure (regardless of whether they have been screened in the past), according to their MRI personnel level
- All equipment is verified for MRI safety before being allowed into the MRI environment by a Level 2 MRI Technologist*
- Additional attention must be given to objects made from conducting materials, as these may pose hazards under certain conditions1
* Level 2 MRI personnel are defined as those with MRI safety education to ensure safety of all individuals and facility resources within the MRI environment
- The most effective means to prevent a patients carrying in potential projectiles is to have them change out of street clothes into hospital gowns1.
- MRI-safe hospital gowns are used (those made of cotton, without pockets and without metal snaps)
- Other forms of clothing may contain metallic threads, objects, or synthetic materials that pose a danger during the MRI exam1
- Non-ambulatory patients may only enter the MRI environment in an MRI-safe wheelchair or gurney which has been inspected specifically for1:
- Ferromagnetic oxygen tanks and IV poles1
- Sandbags with metallic contents2
- Ferromagnetic objects concealed under blankets, in pockets or folds of clothing or stowed on transport equipment1
- The MRI fringe field is clearly demarcated and secured by trained staff1,3.
- Equipment and objects are labelled according to the ASTM (formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials) standards for safety in the MRI environment as follows4:
- MRI safe – objects that pose no known hazards in all MRI environments
- MRI conditional – objects that are safe when used in a specific manner within specific MRI environments, with limitations on usability or the testing that was performed on it
- MRI unsafe – objects that pose a known threat or hazard in all MRI environments
- A list of MRI safe and MRI conditional objects is maintained in the department, including details of restrictions for use.
- Information not contained within the document can be obtained from the manufacturer’s guidelines for use in MRI environments
- All MRI staff and other personnel who may enter the MRI environment are provided with formal training at regular intervals on MRI safety, including1:
- Discussion of objects that can and cannot be allowed into the MRI environment3
- The importance of effective screening1
- A reminder that the magnetic field is always ‘on’1
Shellock FG. Reference Manual for Magnetic Resonance Safety, Implants, and Devices. 2012 ed. Los Angeles, CA: Biomedical Research Publishing Group; 2012.
ECRI (Emergency Care Research Institute). Sandbags: may contain metal, posing hazard in MRI environment. Health Devices Alerts Action Item. Accession Number: A7418. Plymouth Meeting (PA):ECRI; 2006 Jul 14.
Kanal E, et al. American College of Radiology White Paper on MRI safety. AJR 2007;188:1-27.
George Mason University, Krasnow Institute of Advanced Study. MRI Suite Safety and Operations Policies and Procedures Manual. January 2010. Available from: http://ehs.gmu.edu/plans_manuals/MRIPoliciesandProceduresManual.pdf. [Accessed 21 Feb 2013]