home
RSS
October 26th, 2011
06:01 PM ET

Don't get hurt by an MRI

MRI machines allow doctors to see inside your body and diagnose what’s wrong with you, but if mistakes are made, they can hurt or even kill you.

“If administered properly, it’s one of the safest exams that have ever been invented,” says Tobias Gilk, an MRI safety advocate.

But accidents do happen.

“Most errors are a combination of human error and bad timing,” says Dr. Emanuel Kanal, a professor of radiology and neuroradiology at the University of Pittsburgh. Faulty training and lax rules about who can be around the machine also contribute.

There are four main ways MRI machines can pose dangers.

Projectiles:
The M in MRI stands for magnetic, and  magnets are very powerful.

Gilk’s website, mrimetaldetector.com, shows photos of metal objects, including a bed, a floor polisher and a chair forced against the MRI machine.

If someone is being scanned when these devices fly into a machine, they could face serious injuries. A child in New York was killed in 2001 when the MRI machine sucked an oxygen canister into the machine where he was being scanned.

“Projectiles usually happen when there are breakdowns in policies and procedures and proper training wasn’t performed,” says Frank Shellock, an adjunct clinical professor of radiology and medicine at the University of Southern California. He points out that MRI magnets don’t just turn on when they are scanning. They are always energized and there is no visual cue the magnetic field is present. Newer MRI machines can be even more powerful.

Burns:
MRIs use RF transmitters and those can cause heat. “Burns happen, usually because a patient wasn’t prepared properly,” Shellock says. “Usually this is related to misuse of equipment.”

“Generally it is supposed to be gentle, like a heat lamp,” says Gilk. “If there are electrical conductors like an EKG lead (on the body) it becomes an antenna and can pick up the RF and concentrate it.”

Touching the side walls of the MRI tunnel can also lead to burns, Shellock says. MRI operators should put material between the patient and the wall if there is a risk of the patient coming in contact with it. Some burns have been so severe patients have required skin grafts.

Hearing loss:
MRI machines can be quite loud.

Gilk compares getting a scan to standing near a  jet aircraft. He says patients and anyone else near the machine should be given adequate earplugs or protective earphones.

“Scanner technology is improving and machines are getting quieter,” Gilk says, but “anyone in the room could get hearing loss.”

Implants and medical devices:
People with metal in their bodies, including medical devices like aneurysm clips and pacemakers, can face increased risks. The MRI’s powerful magnetic fields could move the device or cause damage.

“Most medical device manufacturer's products made in the last five years will be OK,” says Gilk. But, “if, for example, you had an aneurysm clip that is 15 years old, you should be particularly cautious.”

Shellock says he has studied 3,500 implant devices over about the last 25 years and the devices that are labeled as appropriate for use in an MRI should be fine.

In addition to the medical metal inside the human body, some patients require external devices to keep them alive or monitor their condition. Those devices need to be specifically designed to function around an MRI.

The federal government doesn’t regulate the use of MRIs and state regulations for the machines vary.

“Many states have more stringent requirements for hair colorists than who runs an MRI center,” Gilk says.

So what can patients do to make sure they are safe when they get an MRI?

1. Fill out MRI questionnaire: “Patients should fill out a screening form and ask the MRI technologist if they have questions,” Shellock says. It’s important that patients go over the questions with the technician to make sure they understand what is being asked.

Kanal says honest answers are essential. He gives the example that a patient might not want to reveal they have a wig, but it’s important for the operator to know.

Details about any metal that may be in the body, including bullets, medical devices like aneurysm clips, stents or pacemakers should also be shared with the operator.

2. Remove metal: Since magnetic metal poses such a risk in an MRI, it is essential patients and anyone near the MRI remove it.

3. Use hearing protection: Make sure you and anyone else in the room with you are given proper ear protection and make sure it fits.

4. Look for open doors: MRI facilities should be secure. Gilk says open doors could be a sign the facility isn’t as careful about access as it should be.

5. Look for wires: Make sure there are no unexpected wires or metallic objects like left over EKG sensors on your body. Some devices may be safe for an MRI, but others can be dangerous.

6. Don’t touch the side walls: Coming in contact with the inside of the MRI tube can lead to burns.


soundoff (3,113 Responses)
  1. SEO Marketing Company Near Me

    http://transfer-talk.herokuapp.com/l?l=http://affordableranking.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 09:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Local Marketing Agency

    http://hivresearcher.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.http://affordableranking.com

    June 20, 2021 at 09:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Google Marketing Consultant

    http://gaydayscruise.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=https://www.affordableranking.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 09:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Local Marketing Consultant

    An outstanding share! I've just forwarded this onto a co-worker who has been doing a little homework on this. And he in fact ordered me dinner because I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to talk about this matter here on your web page.

    http://www.rackemrecords.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.https://www.affordableranking.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 09:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Internet Marketing Agency Near Me

    I like reading a post that can make men and women think. Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!

    http://www.downloadandroidfiles.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=https://affordableranking.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 09:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Video Marketing Services

    https://www.incontext.ca/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=http://affordableranking.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 10:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Ramiro Coltrain

    http://jp.local.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.songwritingsociety.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 11:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Keturah Inches

    Itís nearly impossible to find educated people for this subject, however, you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks

    https://images.google.sc/url?q=https://orangecountyheatingandairconditioningspecialists.com

    June 20, 2021 at 11:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Aida Hagman

    https://www.cssdrive.com/?URL=www.sistasuns.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 12:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Clarine Farrill

    https://t10.org/cgi-bin/s_t10r.cgi?First=1&PrevURL=www.ocrv.guru/

    June 20, 2021 at 12:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Hong Keno

    Excellent article! We are linking to this particularly great post on our site. Keep up the good writing.

    https://www.secure.duoservers.com/?lang=en&s_id=123179&rdomain=www.midevilvapes.com&action=order

    June 20, 2021 at 12:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Madison Abud

    This site certainly has all of the information I needed about this subject and didnít know who to ask.

    https://www.secure.duoservers.com/?lang=en&s_id=123179&rdomain=http://www.bonus-books.com&action=order&popup=1

    June 20, 2021 at 12:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Fletcher Salmans

    Great web site you have got here.. Itís hard to find excellent writing like yours nowadays. I really appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

    http://developer.vantiv.com/external-link.jspa?url=http://internetmarketingwashington.com

    June 20, 2021 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Dollie Falis

    You made some good points there. I checked on the web for more info about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this site.

    http://wapp.baidu.com/mo/q/checkurl?url=http://socallandscapers.com&referer=wapp.baidu.com

    June 20, 2021 at 12:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Santo Stockburger

    https://yousite.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=http://wholeloops.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 12:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Ranae Papadakis

    Can I simply say what a comfort to uncover somebody that truly understands what they are discussing over the internet. You definitely understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people really need to check this out and understand this side of your story. I was surprised you're not more popular given that you surely possess the gift.

    https://www.google.co.id/url?q=https://kelseyobsession.net

    June 20, 2021 at 12:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Micheal Coho

    http://www.bad.org.uk/for-the-public/patient-information-leaflets/androgenetic-alopecia/?showmore=1&returnlink=http://www.whatisdisplayadvertising.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 12:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Timothy Kracht

    https://google.com.pk/url?q=https://socalforklifttraining.com

    June 20, 2021 at 13:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Margareta Yanacek

    http://brettterpstra.com/share/fymdproxy.php?url=http://www.localartistsnearme.com

    June 20, 2021 at 13:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Jamey Housand

    Itís hard to come by educated people about this topic, but you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks

    http://ww17.yourname.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=http://postfallswebsites.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 15:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Tricia Toussant

    http://www.it.paltalk.com/client/webapp/client/External.wmt?url=www.postfallsbootcamp.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 15:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Vance Statum

    Your style is very unique compared to other people I've read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I'll just book mark this web site.

    https://maps.google.co.ug/url?q=https://anchoredperformancegym.com

    June 20, 2021 at 15:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Corrin Metropoulos

    Good information. Lucky me I found your blog by accident (stumbleupon). I've saved it for later!

    https://es.paltalk.com/client/webapp/client/External.wmt?url=katsfineartstudio.com

    June 20, 2021 at 15:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Maren Chanoine

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this post and also the rest of the website is also very good.

    https://image.google.ga/url?q=https://ocrv.today

    June 20, 2021 at 15:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Mohammad Acoba

    I needed to thank you for this excellent read!! I certainly loved every bit of it. I have you book marked to check out new stuff you postÖ

    http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/reauthorization/reauexit.cfm?link=https://realchrisburns.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 15:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Destiny Gaudenzi

    https://image.google.me/url?q=https://callfeeder.com

    June 20, 2021 at 16:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Lizzette Quaife

    Next time I read a blog, Hopefully it doesn't disappoint me just as much as this particular one. After all, I know it was my choice to read through, nonetheless I actually thought you would have something useful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something that you could possibly fix if you were not too busy seeking attention.

    https://creativecommons.org/choose/results-one?field_attribute_to_url=www.commercialvanrepairshop.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 16:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Hong Bracetty

    I was very pleased to uncover this site. I want to to thank you for your time just for this wonderful read!! I definitely loved every part of it and i also have you saved to fav to see new stuff in your site.

    https://www.southampton.ac.uk/~drn1e09/foaf/visualizer.php?url=https://www.sprintervanrepairshop.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 16:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Elliott Drainville

    Spot on with this write-up, I actually believe that this amazing site needs a lot more attention. Iíll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the info!

    https://www.client.paltalk.com/client/webapp/client/External.wmt?url=www.curtismelancon.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 17:00 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59

Leave a Reply to Eye Center Near Me


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.