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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 (396 Responses)
  1. Jehsea

    Beware that which is second nature to you. I ALMOST DIED because I looked like a hospital patient should. As the victim of a heavy truck wreck, I have to use a quad cane made of steel. What do you see ALL THE TIME IN HOSPITALS, BUT FOLKS ON CANES? So, my tech didn't catch it when I hobbled into the exam room. The steel cane sat there, 2.5 feet from the MRI machine while I was scanned. I was rolled out. Sat up. As a helpful gesture, the tech moved the cane ONE INCH toward my outstretched hand when IT FLEW past us, in a blur, and landed just above the tube opening. Suddenly the large male tech appeared also, they screamed at me to hit the floor, and it took them TWO FULL MINUTES, STRUGGLING WITH ALL THEIR MIGHT, TO GET THE CANE FREE AND OUT OF THE MAGNETIC FIELD. We were all white as sheets. I actually vomited, thinking I would have been decapitated if it flew into the tube during the scan. Techs cannot catch everything, especially that which seems to fit the hospital environment. Police yourself.

    October 26, 2011 at 22:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dantx10

      Same thing happened to me but it was a one hitter.

      October 27, 2011 at 00:00 | Report abuse |
    • Easy E

      You brought a one-hitter to the hospital? Did you actually think people wouldn't be able to tell it was weed from the smell? What a goof!

      October 27, 2011 at 00:03 | Report abuse |
    • Dantx10

      @Easy E. I was just joking you goofy sucker. I actually thought his article was a joke also.

      October 27, 2011 at 00:08 | Report abuse |
    • Dantx10

      I meant to say his post, not article.

      October 27, 2011 at 00:09 | Report abuse |
    • Skipper

      BS

      October 27, 2011 at 00:51 | Report abuse |
    • memememe

      Yeah, right "Police myself". I would lock myself up and though away the key. No seriously, if you let them they will KILL you, just out of stupidity. And when they do they couldn't care less. I've had almost zero medical attention but what I have had was shoddy and incompetent. I know at LEAST two people dead from this. Have a nice day : )

      October 27, 2011 at 01:59 | Report abuse |
    • memememe

      correction: "knew two people" LOL

      October 27, 2011 at 02:01 | Report abuse |
    • David

      You bring up a fantastic point. Complacency is a significant risk in medical imaging. MRI Techs should be actively and constantly paranoid about all potential risks so as to avoid situations like Jehsea's.

      October 29, 2011 at 15:28 | Report abuse |
  2. Doug Mallock

    first off... its Technologist not technican! People who are trained to run these machines study for years, and to try and dumb their education down and scare people is just rediculous

    October 26, 2011 at 23:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Gabe

      yes its horrible to try and protect human beings from serious injury. Did you even read the whole article you idiot?

      October 26, 2011 at 23:29 | Report abuse |
    • Nicole

      MRI techs complete a 2 year allied health program (usually). So while they are educated and do receive training I am not sure I would describe it as years of training,

      Plus without standards in place the person operating the machine may not have that certification. I know I went into an MRI without a blanket to protect my arms from touching the edges of the machine (the person who I suspect was actually the tech put the blanket on me after pulling me out for contrast). So oversights do happen.

      October 27, 2011 at 00:40 | Report abuse |
    • memememe

      Yes Doug, i'm sure your a competent TECHNOLOGIST lol . In spite of the truth.

      October 27, 2011 at 02:03 | Report abuse |
    • Krejaton

      Oh the irony, coming from someone who cannot spell "ridiculous"!

      October 27, 2011 at 02:23 | Report abuse |
  3. MRI Technologist for over 25 years

    Ugggg... I have seen too many "articles" that have blurred the truth when it comes to MRI scans and the Technologists that run them. Yes accidents happen (rarely), proper training of hospital staff is crucial since if an "accident" has happened it usually wasn't at the fault of the Tech. I can say (knock on wood) that after 25 plus years I have had no accidents and I am a certified MRI Technologist and find it deplorable and negligent that a facility would hire anything less. This article should of stopped at the overly dramatic videos.

    October 26, 2011 at 23:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sheila

      Well then maybe you can help me out if you are an experienced tech of 25 years. I desperately need Spine MRI's for evaluating complications from injuries as I have gotten worse with time, and have some risky situations I know.

      However, I am EMR sensitive...ultra sensitive to EMR Fields and Magnets make me sick as a dog. So I proposed since I have such a bad history with MRI in the past that the med facility break up my exposure time (recommended by researchers).

      So I wanted to do my Cervical MRI, and then divide my Thoracic MRI in half, 2 different sessions with a few weeks in between so my body could dissipate the heat before the next one (Thermal/bio effects are a real problem for me).
      And then I would do the Lumbar MRI.

      However, the medical facility said I can not break up the thoracic MRI into 2 sessions because of "billing". It would mess up their billing methods and they don't bill like that. Patient safety is not as important as the way they want to "bill".

      Now why can't they just bill for the whole thoracic MRI and just have me come back for a 2nd session ? Is it that hard to do ?

      So here I am, needing evaluation and care, and suffering immensely, but I have to choose between my present condition and the worse condition I will be in if I do the MRI "their way". It would be too long of a discourse for me to go into detail. but trust me, it has to be broken up in my case.

      October 26, 2011 at 23:31 | Report abuse |
    • Easy E

      Sheila: bite the bullet and get it done in one shot, especially if they are going to be using contrast agent. The contrast agent is hard on your kidneys, you don't want to be dosed up twice on that if you don't have to endure it. The other thing is that you'd likely get more RF exposure ,and likely get a less useful set of images, if you do things twice. This of course also says nothing of the fact that two MRIs scans are twice as expensive as one. As far as heat build up, the MRI is not going to dump any more thermal energy in your body than a trip to the beach – so long as the scans are done properly you have nothing to worry about.

      I have had 2 MRIs done in the past, it's not really fun, but it is manageable, just do it to get through it.

      October 26, 2011 at 23:47 | Report abuse |
    • David

      This is in response to Sheila's reply. There are options. You come across as individual with a vendetta against the technologists. From your reply to this post it seems your primary beef should be with management. Am I understanding correctly: they are unwilling to break up the sessions into four sessions: one for the cervical, two for the thoracic, and one for the lumbar...? Typically, as I'm sure you know, there are three billing blocks, one for C, one for T, and one for L. You could bite the bullet and pay for four, and describe what you'd like the technologist to do... or you could keep the three sessions and ask for sequences that utilize less RF, like gradient echoes.

      October 29, 2011 at 15:36 | Report abuse |
  4. Susan (an actual TECHNOLOGIST and Dept Manager)

    PS...most accidents tend to involve non-radiology doctors who don't listen to the technologist and go right past them or a nurse who thinks they know more!

    October 26, 2011 at 23:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • David

      I second Susan's statement. The docs are always coming in with their pagers and stethoscopes... Granted, though, the technologist should step right in front of them and demand they take off their gear. Safety first!

      October 29, 2011 at 15:39 | Report abuse |
  5. Sheila

    Dear alleged Dr. Hylton. Unfortunately the medical groups and the attorneys are members of the same yacht club. Most patients are screwed out of legal remedies because state legislatures take bribes from insurance companies to limit the statute of limitation for suing in malpractice and negligence cases. (that is a fact I personally am acquainted with not speculation)

    So often, a patient may be limited to 2 years to seek legal remedy and it is less than that as an attorney will not take on a case in those latter 6 months I have found out. It may take a patient 2 years or longer to make significant recovery to be able to communicate and work with an attorney. That is one thing I hope to get changed in the good old "money talks" and ethics and values suck in the good ole "USA". Look at how many people in the medical profession lie to their patients. Nurses lie, techs lie, doctors "evade". Tired of it.

    October 26, 2011 at 23:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Elizabeth

    I have a question for any MRI professional here: I had an MRI soon after surgery, because I developed a problem some place else. The technologist warned me that the surgery scar would not ever heal if I had the MRI, because the electrons would spin the wrong way and never attach themselves afterward. Is this true? Could it interfere with healing? It was the strangest thing I had ever heard, and I did not hear it from anybody else, ever. It has been 3 years, and the scar at skin level did heal, but under that still seems to be in strange shape.

    October 26, 2011 at 23:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Easy E

      Pure BS Elizabeth. The real risk is that you could get an RF burn, which heals only very slowly. If you got an RF burn, you would have felt it at the time of the scan – they are rather painful. Whoever told you about the electrons obviously doesn't understand the difference between spin and charge. There is zero evidence that a PROPERLY administred MRI would harm you in any way. Other than burns, the only other negative thing an MRI can do to you is overexcite your neurons if they push/pull you into or out of the bore too quickly. On this latter point, some folks with epilepsy have had attacks due to being pulled out of the bore too quickly, but the effect is not permanent.

      October 26, 2011 at 23:26 | Report abuse |
    • Dr. Dan

      This is absolutely ludicrous. I hold two doctorates in Molecular Biology and Chemistry and find this completely false.

      October 26, 2011 at 23:27 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      I'm not arguing whether what the technologist said at the time was true or false, but they did tell me. My MRI was close to the location of my scar. It was a long scar, and it is still painful underneath the skin. I was not burned as far as I know, unless it is possible that there could be a burn below the skin level. I did not mind the loudness (but was surprised by it). I had to hold my arms to keep my shoulders from touching the sides, and the MRI was of my shoulder. My shoulder actually felt better because of the MRI; I had calcified tendonitis, with a large ball of calcium inside of the tendon that was pressing on a major nerve. But at the location of the surgery scar (not at the shoulder), it still hurts. I just don't know what to make of it, or why the technologist told me that it wouldn't heal.

      October 27, 2011 at 00:33 | Report abuse |
    • Easy E

      Elizabeth: yes, it is possible to get an RF burn under the skin, but in nearly all instances, you'd see some surface burn too...unless you had some metal embedded in there. If you have any metal with a form factor as a flat surface (rather than as a rod shape), that metal can get super hot during the scan and burn the tissue around it. If you had an implant near the wound site, or if you somehow got something in there, it could cause a burn beneath the skin that doesn't present a surface dermal burn.

      This nonsense about electrons "not returning" is simply total crock. Apparently this person doesn't know anything about conservation of charge, zeeman level splitting, or what the Pauli exclusion principle is all about. Yes, anything with a magnetic moment (electrons, protons, and neutorns) will undergo energy level splitting (the whole basis for magnetic resonance phenomena), but said particles aren't being forced to move away, they simply "precess" about their own axis. Let me put it in nonscientific terms: that guy was an idiot. There are a lot of people who have superficial understanding of technology, and they know just enough to scare themselves and others, and not know the real risks and benefits of a technology.

      October 27, 2011 at 00:49 | Report abuse |
    • K

      Dear Elizabeth,
      There are certain contraindications for one not to have an MRI. Sometimes in our field as with any other field (LIKE MEDIA.Cohen the reporter) will make mistakes and not have their information correct due to lack of judgment or research. Also, if a patient is nervous (claustrophobic) it is difficult to take in information such as Spin Echo, Fast Spin Echo and terminology of the like, hence the patient could also misunderstand what has been said. I am not saying you misunderstood, however our field deals with a lot of physics and multiple applications are continually happening all at once. If Ms. Cohen the reporter could understand the physics behind that and not just basic knowledge we wouldn't have the kind of unprofessional journalism here. Many blessings to you and yes you can have an MRI with no dangers and of course per your doctors advice. I am surprised that Dr. Gupta would approve of this kind of journalism. This unprofessional journalism reflex on him as well.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:03 | Report abuse |
  7. Easy E

    People should also be aware that there has been, how shall we say this, a decrease in manufacturing quality standards over the last few years. As a result, there have been a LOT more people getting RF and thermal burns from shoddy equipment...especially from a manufacturer that goes by an acronym. If the MRI coil gets too hot or feels like it is burning you, tell the tech to stop the test immediately...do not assume all is well!

    October 26, 2011 at 23:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sheila

      Florida Tech....I read about that MRI inventor the other day and the development of it. It scared me even worse ! Face it, everything humans do is "shot in the dark" . If some are harmed, those who harmed make an excuse and say "oh well" that is the minority. Well if I am the minority don't I have rights too ? I am so glad CNN did this article to make people aware that there are dangers and that patients themselves need to take some precautions for their own safety.

      If CNN apologizes for the Beautician remark, will you at least accept the rest of the article as worthy ?

      October 26, 2011 at 23:48 | Report abuse |
    • Easy E

      Sheila: I am not an MRI tech. I am an engineer. You are allowed to beleive whatever you want, but I think you are doing yourself a tremendous disservice to decide that MRIs wil harm you. I can tell you right now, the MRI is not what you should be scared of – the CT machine is. So, if you want to psychologically feel better but dose yourself up on ionizing radiation, be my guest, but that's not a good gamble, especially since it sounds like you'll be needing to take a lot of images in the coming months and years ahead. CTs definitely increase your risk for cancer, MRIs don't. The only health dangers from MRIs would be burns (from a malfuncitoning unit) or kidney damaged caused by contrast agent (which mostly only affects those with existing kidney problems anyway).

      October 26, 2011 at 23:54 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      Sheila: There are always some percentage of people who have strange experiences with something. Best to find out why; as I said earlier, there are some people who cannot go outside during the day because their cells cannot deal with even the relatively minimal radiation caused by a short exposure to sunlight. I don't know if genetic testing might pick that up, but you might want to look up a specialist in that area, and find out if you have a slight problem in that direction. I know people with all sorts of strange reactions: one man I know won't go unconscious with anesthetics. My husband can only take a fraction of his weight for any medicine, and medicines do not clear out of his system very quickly. Some people with Mediterranean descent hold on to ferrous molecules in their liver, and then can get iron poisoning (more common among men). There are doctors, and then there are the very few who recognize an unusual reaction to something as something that needs to be charted and even figured out. I would worry about your radiation sensitivity, because people with the sun exposure problem are very prone to skin cancers. You might need to find another way to be monitored that does not involve these tests at all.

      October 27, 2011 at 00:44 | Report abuse |
  8. Some Guy

    CNN needs to post a retraction segment. They need to recheck their facts and bring on one of those "technicians" they keep talking about. When they can't find one, perhaps they should bring a technologist on to discuss what really happens.

    October 26, 2011 at 23:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Easy E

      Better yet hey need to bring on a radiologist to explain all of this, preferrably an MD PhD that actually understands the engineering/physics aspects of an MRI. The VAST majority of doctors (even radiologists) do not understand at all how an MRI works – let alone the nurses or techs. Most have a very superficial understanding. If the doctor cannot describe k-space, Hyperfine states, spin-spin coupling, T2 star, and doesn't know the difference between B(0) and B(1), then they don't know how an MRI works, PERIOD.

      October 26, 2011 at 23:33 | Report abuse |
    • concerned

      I'm with you,this is making my blood boil with the inaccuracies.

      October 27, 2011 at 08:34 | Report abuse |
  9. Kelly

    I am sorry to say but this reporter has taken a statement out of context. I AM a Radiologic Technologist. MRI Technologist have to go through extensive training and are guided through what questions to ask each patient for their own safety before they enter the MRI suite. I can assure each reader that even as a Radiologic Technologist, I have gone through 2 years of book and clinical training. An MRI Technologist has to go through this same training as well as another year of book and clinical training (that equals 3 years total). That is more than a hair stylists. This reporter obviously has got her facts wrong and owes our very specialized and highly trained professionals an apology!!!!!!

    October 26, 2011 at 23:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CT

      Too bad while you were getting all that training you forgot how to READ. The reporter said that there are more REGULATIONS in some states for hair colorists then for those operating an MRI. At no point did the reporter say that those who perform MRI's receive less training. Though I am frightened to see so many who claim to be "technologists" failing at basic reading comprehension skills. Perhaps that is the cause of MRI accidents.

      October 26, 2011 at 23:47 | Report abuse |
    • Mala

      Kelly is right CT. In the video, the reporter states that beauticians receive more training. Try to listen better next time.

      October 27, 2011 at 00:39 | Report abuse |
    • hospital employee of ten years

      I AGREE, I wouldn't find it appropriate for myself to make a statment such as that about her position, so she should have made a comment like that without educating herself on the subject first. How long did she go to school? However long it was, she might need an ethics update. This is why you cannot put all your faith in some of the crap you hear on television, even if it was a previously trusted source. A mistake dosen't beget another. (diarrhea of the mouth)

      October 27, 2011 at 09:28 | Report abuse |
    • Sherry

      Yes, Elizabeth is wrong and should have done more research on the school curriculum of a Registered Radiologic Technologist with additional MRI credentials. I am so saddened that because of Elizabeth's ignorance, the public will fear receiving quality care from educated healthcare workers. Did Elizabeth attend beauty school??? Perhaps it takes more education to become a beautician than a CNN journalist, per say? I am hoping for a CNN apology broadcasted soon.

      October 27, 2011 at 12:21 | Report abuse |
  10. Michael

    its technologist NOT Technician.....HUGE DIFFERENCE.........and to be a "beautician" what 9 months of training? sorry but in order to be an MRI TECHNOLOGIST, you have to go to school for Radiography(which is a 2 year program) so NO i don't think a "beautician" has more training than a MRI TECHNOLOGIST.......CNN YOU NEED TO GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT!

    October 26, 2011 at 23:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CT

      And you need to learn how to READ. The article says there are MORE REGULATIONS in some states, not that there is more training to be a hair colorist.

      October 26, 2011 at 23:48 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Hey CT. Does it upset you that it takes training to be an MRI Technologist and not a ct tech. After all isn't a ct tech just an xray tech that is to lazy to position a patient and only knows how to push a button.

      October 27, 2011 at 00:28 | Report abuse |
    • Mala

      Worth repeating from Sean:

      Hey CT,

      Before you bash people and tell them how they need to read, you should first understand that not everyone is reading this. In the video she says that "beauticians" recieve more training. I guess since you kept telling people that they need to learn how to read....You need to learn how to LISTEN.

      October 27, 2011 at 00:43 | Report abuse |
    • K

      To CT.
      Did you hear Cohen right.....Did she say hair colorist or beautician? Get your facts straight.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:14 | Report abuse |
  11. FLORIDA TECHNOLOGIST

    Doug, Youre ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, its "TECHNOLOGIST", NOT "technician". For the news anchors to say that "the technicians who run these machines, have less training than beauticians" is ABSOLUTELY ABSURD! Im a Registerd CT (Catscan) Tech as well as a Registerd Xray Tech, and I currently work at a hospital in the MRI dept. Im studying my butt off to get my MR registry...let me be the first to tell u, the people I work with are HIGHLY TRAINED, & are VERY INTELLIGENT! The amount of safty procedures we have in place annoys many patients. The abundance of questions, paperwork, & then repeat of many of the same questions (by mouth before they enter the magnet room) are all put in place to do one thing...PROTECT THE PATIENT! MRI is a wonderful tool that Dr.s have to identify problems. Yes the exams take a long time, and yes people get claustrobic. Patients need to slow down, and READ all the questions they are filling out, and answer them truthfully. If there is anything unclear, then ASK YOUR TECH, for clarification! The inventor of the MRI scanner (Raymond Vahan Damadian) won the Nobel Prize, which is not given out for just anything...(except for OVomit aka Obama, the terrorist) he got one for being the first black president....(SIMPLY SICKENING)

    October 26, 2011 at 23:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Easy E

      Actually the Nobel went to Paul Lauterbur, though Damadian deserved to be co-winner. It's kind of like the Salk/Sabine controversy of yore: the more popular guy won, though both clearly deserved it.

      October 26, 2011 at 23:41 | Report abuse |
    • K

      Easy E,
      You are right about Dr. Damanian and P. Lauterbur being co-winners of the Nobel Prize. I worked with Dr. Damadian's company for 6 years and learned a tremendous amount of physics. Oh, I wonder if Reporter Cohen and Dr. Gupta agrees with us or they may have to do research in order to have the correct information.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:25 | Report abuse |
    • David

      Lauterbur and Mansfield were the co-winners of the Nobel Prize. I agree, though, it was Damadian who truly deserved it for his initial idea for "an external probe for the detection of internal cancer." I mean, though it seems like he was difficult to be around, he was the individual who took the concept of NMR and applied fourier transormation to create an image instead of spectral peaks. Pretty cool idea!

      October 29, 2011 at 16:01 | Report abuse |
  12. Tauma Center MRI Technologist, BS RT(R)(MR)

    As I am sure that most people are aware, there are certain safety precautions that should be followed in any environment. The medical field, and Radiology specifically is no exception. Now as for this "news" broadcast I would like to mention a few things. First, the correct terminology is TECHNOLOGIST, not a technician, I have a degree, I am not a button pusher. Second, becoming a MRI Technologist requires much more training than a beautician. That comment was extremely offensive and completely unfounded. Third, not every metal is magnetic or affected by the magnetic field. Metals that are ferromagnetic are affected by the magnetic field. Many metals, including those that are most commonly used for various types of implants are perfectly safe. However, any and all implants that a patient has must be disclosed to the technologist so that the technologist can verify the safety of the implant. Fourth, MRI accidents are very rare and usually occur when the technologist is superseded by a nurse or physician who is not familiar with MRI and has proceeded into the MRI suite against the wishes of the technologist. If you have concerns about an upcoming MRI the best thing you can do is to discuss your concerns with your MRI Technologist. We are educated and highly specialized. We are not idiots. It is our job to provide the highest level of care. That includes being able to give you an ample amount of information about your exam and to calm any unnecessary fears that you may have. The reporter for this broadcast should feel ashamed for her amazing lack of knowledge on this subject. The crude comments within the broadcast have shown just how ignorant the writers are on this topic. Perhaps next time the writers will take a few minutes of their time to consult a member of the Radiological community so that the public can be provided with accurate information.

    October 26, 2011 at 23:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Easy E

      As you probably know the presence of any metal is a concern not just because of flying objects, but because anything conductive near the transmit antenna is going to get hot FAST, unless it has a very high L/D ratio (like a rod or screw). Eddy currents are not your friend in the MR suite.

      October 27, 2011 at 00:32 | Report abuse |
  13. Steve

    To say an MRI will hurt you is like saying an airplane will crash if you travel in it. Yes accidents do happen. But do demonize it the way the media does is wrong. In fact, MRI has saved lives and has influenced medical management for the better for many patients. Don't let news of one incident out of a million deter you from having a test that could save your life.

    October 26, 2011 at 23:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sheila

      MRI's can injure and kill. It is good for the public to know both sides of the coin. Or do you prefer to lie to them. Your sin is greater.

      October 26, 2011 at 23:55 | Report abuse |
    • Easy E

      Sheila, now you are outright lying. No one has ever been killed by an MRI machine. The only way it could kill you is if you had an older pacemaker installed and underwent a scan. For anyone else, the worst you could get is a burn. You don't know what you're talking about, period. Go get a dozen CT images taken in rapid succession and then tell me how your health is doing in 10 years, if you aren't in dead or on chemotherapy.

      October 26, 2011 at 23:59 | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      Honestly shelia? lets see the articles to back this up, I would love to read them! Anything can injure and kill you if you dont know what your doing, I would just like to see what mri technologist doesn't know what their doing, btw the one child that got killed was impaled by an oxygen tank that didn't get brought in the room by the technologist, you think were in it to kill people? Why dont you go to an mri department and talk to all the people we saved with the imaging they got detecting things no other test could, especially any breast mri patient that would have never got diagnosed because the mammogram missed the tumors, but mris kill, they dont do any good

      October 27, 2011 at 00:05 | Report abuse |
    • K

      Sheila,
      Are you a "technician" or a beautician? Well, I am a MRI Technologist for the past 23 years. You really need to get your facts straight. I'm on board with EASYE. He is an engineer. I work with engineers, physicists, and Radiologist. We have to always keep our facts straight. Please be more precise.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:35 | Report abuse |
  14. Arick

    I recently had a MRI, the only bad part is that my shoulders didn't fit very well. I have broad shoulders and they pressed against the sides.

    October 26, 2011 at 23:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Easy E

      Next time, ask if they can use a thoracic coil for your shoulder. Some of the open thoracic coils (like the one used on the Siemens Syngo) can be moved up in the SI direction to cover the shoulder. It beats using a shoulder coil that just won't fit at all.

      October 27, 2011 at 00:35 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      High-field open MRI!

      October 27, 2011 at 02:09 | Report abuse |
  15. Sheila

    Touchy Techies...here is a link to a government webpage on Technologists and Technicians if you do not think CNN is being "politically correct".

    http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos105.htm

    October 26, 2011 at 23:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ben S.

      The appropriate term is technologist. Many places use the term Technician instead of Technologist. The best way to differentiate between the two is Technicians service equipment and Technologusts operate equipment.

      October 27, 2011 at 03:03 | Report abuse |
    • hospital employee of ten years

      If you were going to college, you would know that the twenty-one to twenty-four months does not include the basics, which may take up to to years. As for the link you have given, there was nothing about MRI death. Seriously, did you think that no one would actually check it out? Do us all a favor and hold your tounge.

      October 27, 2011 at 09:44 | Report abuse |
    • K

      Sheila,
      How old are you? Haven't you realized that the gov. does not tell the truth or media. Once again, get your facts from somewhere other than the gov. or media.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:50 | Report abuse |
  16. Elizabeth

    Maybe Elizabeth Cohen got the same training as the beautician that she is referring to .. Apparently she is uneducated at what it takes to become a MRI TECHNOLOGIST... Maybe the "expert" should get her information correct before appearing on TV and making false accusations against a professional career! Disappointed that CNN would aire this load of crap!!

    October 26, 2011 at 23:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Sarah

    Dear Elizabeth Cohen,
    You dont know what your talking about, as an mri tech, watching the video of you saying we get less training than a beautician was such a slap in the face, also, not all metal gets attracted to the scanner, you should know not all metal is ferromagnetic, thanks for scaring the population more about something that they shouldn't be worried about.why dont you research how many people have died from mris versus lightning strikes this year, and by the way, we are TECHNOLOGISTS, I didn't go through college and multiple board exams to be called a technician, which works on the machine, maybe you would like to be called the ditzy girl that gets the coffee for the real CNN corresponders, because obviously you have no idea what your talking about, good job getting all your facts straight!

    October 26, 2011 at 23:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nissim Levy

      You should learn basic English grammar. When you were using the word "your" you should have instead used the contraction "you're". I shuuder to think that an MRI technologist does not understand the difference.

      October 27, 2011 at 00:18 | Report abuse |
    • David

      Tell me, Nissim, how exactly does one "shuuder"? How's -your- english?

      October 29, 2011 at 16:09 | Report abuse |
  18. Sheila

    Easy E. there is no biting the bullet. The MRI situation with my particular injuries should I go into convulsions again from the MRI as I have before, will exasperate my injuries to a much worse state and I will be left unable to physically function period. I cannot compromise my safety. You have to understand the thermal effects in some people can be great depending on a number of factors. It is more heat than a trip to the beach. I do not go into convulsions at the beach.

    October 27, 2011 at 00:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Easy E

      Shiela: you had convulsions not from thermal effects, but because they moved you into/out of the bore too quickly, or put you in a high field (3T or higher) machine. Get your scan done on a 1.5 T machine, and have them move you SLOWLY. Admittedly, most techs will run you through there like cattle (welcome to our "fine" healthcare system) but make it clear they will have an emergent situation on their hands if they don't handle you gently. You may also be allergic to contrast agent.

      If you absolutely cannot bear an MRI, ask for an ultrasound. Ultrasound has ZERO risk, but it is relatively low resolution/low SNR so the images aren't so great. A 3-D ultrasound MIGHT give the ortho doc what he needs, but the MRI would give them a lot better image if you can bear it.

      October 27, 2011 at 00:10 | Report abuse |
    • J Adams

      Sheila. I'm a radiologist and have owned an MRI clinic for ~10 years. Either what the clinic has told you, or your perception of it – does not make sense. If the clinic won't perform one exam at a time for you on different days – just go down the road to the next clinic. The other hints that people have provided you are very good (lower tesla magnet will mean a lower SARS / lower heat, and slow table entry / exit could be wise in your case). Some folks benefit from minor sedation prior to the exam, if they are not driving themselves home – which is something you could consider.

      October 27, 2011 at 00:52 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      To go with what I said about finding out about your radiation sensitivity: You might not be living in a place where people have enough training or take the time. While you are at it, read up on facilities around the country; find out where outcomes are safer and better. As many of these comments have said, the certification requires a lot of training, but obviously it seems that your experience does not reflect good care. So, search out your sensitivity to radiation, and at the same time do a search on what facilities are all-around better. It really makes a difference, especially if you get unusual reactions due to unusual genetics or something.

      October 27, 2011 at 00:57 | Report abuse |
    • K

      Dr. J. Adams,
      Thank you for your kindness and excellent information you gave Sheila. I will hope that CNN can show the same kindness and consideration next time they decide to do a segment. Since reporter and I mean reporter Cohen was not able to be professional enough and attack our profession, I hold Dr. Gupta responsible for this segment as well. Sorry Dr. Gupta, but that is one of yours.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:56 | Report abuse |
  19. Sheila

    Sarah, use a dictionary sweetheart and go to this link:

    http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos105.htm

    October 27, 2011 at 00:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sarah

      We are all registered through the American Registry of Radiologic TECHNOLOGISTS, not technicians, sweetheart
      http://www.arrt.org
      What do you do for a living? want me to bash your job?

      October 27, 2011 at 00:13 | Report abuse |
    • IR Technologist

      Because the government said it, it must be true! (that is a sarcastic statement)

      October 27, 2011 at 08:56 | Report abuse |
    • Sherry

      Sheila, stop......you do not know what you are talking about.

      October 27, 2011 at 12:30 | Report abuse |
  20. Kirsti

    Dear CNN: Before you make a report, could you please get your terminology correct. Medical Imaging Professionals are Technologists, not technicians. We endure intensive training in order to perform our duties within the parameters of the ARRT Code of Ethics. I'm sure you don't know this, but the ARRT is our accrediting body. While it is true that some states have very relaxed laws governing the licensure of technologists, it is also true that the American Society of Radiologic Technologists has been trying for several years to pass the CARE bill to require all states to have licensing requirements. I'd like you to know that for an Associate of Science in Radiologic Technology, I completed 5 consecutive semesters of 12 credit hours each just for my prerequisite courses. That was followed up by a 22 month full-time clinical education and didactic education. That's 39 months for a "2-year" degree. All of it full-time and with honors. I am on my way to becoming an MRI technologist currently. It is very intensive and safety is the first thing taught. I will admit that there are "lazy" or "incompetent" people in all professions, including my own, and obviously, journalism; however, the vast majority of MR incidents occur from ancillary staff (nurses, medics, CODE responders) who don't follow the instructions of the MR technologist during an emergent situation. Also, much of the metal hardware in a person's body are non-ferrous (look that word up). Many are safe for MRI, even stents dependent on type and length of time since implantation. So, CNN, I think it would be wonderful if you would learn the correct terminology for my profession and show a shred of respect for us. Also, it would be appreciated if you could report a story with facts, maybe include an imaging professional??? Thank you for encouraging more exaggerated fear into an exam that is hard for most patients to begin with.

    October 27, 2011 at 00:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Sheila

    MRI Techs versus Beauticians. I think many of you Techs are failing to understand that there are many of these "franchise" MRI centers popping up in areas no bigger than a standard mall retail space. That is not taking into consideration the ones you have in the back of a semi-trailer. We have a local hospital that gives incredible service to the people of our area, however, when I saw their MRI room I about had a heart attack. Honestly, the whole design was just "asking for trouble". They were using the area next to the tech's computer for storing all kinds of equipment that would be drawn into a magnetic field. There was also too much traffic for me to feel comfortable for my safety. One careless move around a door way and I would have a wheelchair flying at me ! And all the other debris too, to include a fire extinguisher. Nah, I want safety guarantees all the way from the whole door/room design to the way we are dressed for the MRI, to the education of the techs and doctors...and all the other important little details.

    So if lightening strikes when I am in the MRI, then what ? Did you know in higher humidity conditions the patient has a higher SAR ? Yea, and I bet you do not adjust the settings of the machine to lower the EMR sent into the patient on more humid days. Did you know the SAR threshold was determined by a meeting of "stakeholders" to strike a balance between the different agendas ? The SAR is not really scientifically determined in an exact science kind of way. I find that scary.

    October 27, 2011 at 00:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Easy E

      Sheila: SAR is calculated on modern MRI machines and used to adjust transmit gain. If you are scanned on a Siemens Syngo or a GE Singa or Optima the transmit power is adjusted automaticaly as part of the prescan procedure.

      I agree most hospital are run like total zoos. It's not just the MR suite that's dangerous. Frankly, you should be more worried about getting MRSA from a toilet seat or door handle than anything else. Hospitals are not run by technical people, and few if any actually implement anything like the kind of basic quality system that's used by manufactureres. Even the local bakery has more sophisticated operations than a hosptial, simply because the doctors and nurses usually refuse to go along with it, to say nothing of the boneheaded management.

      October 27, 2011 at 00:19 | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      Did you learn this all through Google? You have to love Google. It such a great tool to help people who clearly know nothing to look up some big words to sound intelligent. If you are so afraid of MRI's then don't ever have one done.

      October 27, 2011 at 00:32 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      What I find scary is that someone like you is able to voice your opinion. The only thing I get from reading your posts is "poor me, pitty me" If your so worried about getting an MRI than don't. Not everyone can handle an MRI and those people have to find other means of having their problems taken care of. Ultimately, its your choice in what you have done. But there is no reason to bash on someone else just to try and make yourself seem better. And by the way, where do you work? Does the words "can I have fries with that?" make up your whole day?

      October 27, 2011 at 00:49 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Have you ever had any medical training? You know what? I read an article too. It was about how when some people stay up late, their neurological functions start to decline and they become dumber. I think this might include you. You should go to bed now and when you wake up tomorrow you can find something else to complain about. Maybe then someone will pity you. Because right now I'm BS sensitive and you're making me ill.

      October 27, 2011 at 01:12 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      Easy E: In the last year, I have to agree with you about hospitals. Toilet seats (not just MRSAs) are hazardous there; the public has to use some pretty awful ones. Then there is the ER nurses that do not know how to access a port. I remember one ER nurse who wanted to know whether she should access my husband's port, and she put on ordinary gloves (not the super-sterile ones), then opened the room door knob with those gloves to ask the doctor, and at that point we said that maybe his port "just wasn't working" (our excuse) and could they start an I.V. in his other arm. We were glad when they got him up to the cancer center where the nurses actually know what a port is and how sterile it needs to be. People need to go to their family doctor if they have a cold; use the ER for other things, and don't give your colds to the patients who could die of a cold.

      October 27, 2011 at 01:24 | Report abuse |
  22. big AL in KC

    When will everyone that posts something that is in left field get a clue. These Liberal Sensationalist demonize everything to get you to read and get on the websites or buy their rags. Don't be such a biter!

    October 27, 2011 at 00:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sheila

      CNN is not demonizing (they only do that to Christians on the Religion opinion pages). They are merely stating medical facts. If you techs can get out of your insecurity zones to objectively look at the article and say, "hey, I should look into this and learn a little more" [And you are supposedly suppose to know all this in this article anyway, especially considering how you are bragging about all your extensive training; and if you can say, hey wait a minute, maybe they are saying something whereas I should be more aware of what is going on with MRI facilities across the country and how they are regulated or no regulated (The Federal government does not monitor or regulate MRI facilities/procedures to any great degree).
      Do you think the state governments do ? Huh ?

      It is an MRI free for all out there and some people are getting hurt. So wake up, obtain wisdom, amd do more research on the MRI.

      For all you "trained techs" I find it terrifying that you are not even familiar the basic risks and safety issues reported in the article.

      October 27, 2011 at 00:17 | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      The risks and safety issues are second nature to us technologist. We certainly do not need to familiarize ourselves with them. We know them like the back of our Hans because we are educated. It's people like you who think you know everything and ignore what we tell you or don't fill out your questionnaire properly that could cause a problem.

      October 27, 2011 at 00:43 | Report abuse |
  23. Nissim Levy

    Sarah, please learn basic English grammar. When you were using the word "your" you should have instead used the contraction "you're". I shuuder to think that an MRI technologist does not understand the difference.

    October 27, 2011 at 00:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sarah

      Sorry, I was using my phones speech to text, I'm not on a computer typing, but typing your or you're right doesn't have a single thing to do with how well I do my job, glad to be judged though, thank you

      October 27, 2011 at 00:22 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Maybe Sheila and you should hook up. Both have nothing better to do than try and make people look bad.

      October 27, 2011 at 00:51 | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      Honestly I think its hilarious that that is the only comment for this story you have, that I have to learn basic grammar, next time I'll remember that when I'm doing cpr to save someones life, which by the way, I did, 3 times, or when the radiologists are coming to me about suggestions on how to make our imaging better, if you dont know someone, don't judge them, I just hope if you ever have an mri, you have a skilled tech like myself and many others out there, unless you want a grammar teacher to try and run your scan.

      October 27, 2011 at 07:43 | Report abuse |
  24. Tobias Gilk

    As one who was interviewed for this piece, I must say that the blog version of the story appearing on The Chart is accurate and balanced. It begins with the statement that MRI is among the safest diagnostic options available to us, but that there are risks... risks for which there are preventions that aren't universally deployed.

    The aired version of the story did 'over-distil' to the point of introducing inaccuracies (not all metal is magnetically attracted), and did misuse the vocabulary to identify the people who run these devices, and did apparently confuse the point that is clearly made in the blog, that states have more qualification / licensure requirements of beauticians than they do for MR technologists, by saying that techs have less training than beauticians.

    I know that the aired version is the one that more people will have seen, but it appears that it was (perhaps) a function of haste that the information that had been collected and effectively compiled, as evidenced by the blog version of the story, wasn't as accurately presented in the aired segment.

    October 27, 2011 at 00:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Elizabeth

      In the 1960s, my uncle, who worked for ABC news in NYC (at that time not an overpaid job) took me to meet Harry Reasoner. He came off exactly as he did over the air, very nice, and followed the script well. Since that time, anchors have become obscenely overpaid, and do not follow scripts accurately. CNN should not use that live reporter until she learns to read a script, or learns to edit so that information does not become distorted.

      October 27, 2011 at 01:16 | Report abuse |
  25. Tiffany

    As a radiologic TECHNOLOGIST, I am appalled by this report. You have your facts all messed up. I need not say more than that since my fellow TECHNOLOGISTS have so eloquently filled in the details and facts you obviously overlooked.

    October 27, 2011 at 00:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Sean

    Hey CT,

    Before you bash people and tell them how they need to read, you should first understand that not everyone is reading this. In the video she says that "beauticians" recieve more training. I guess since you kept telling people that they need to learn how to read....You need to learn how to LISTEN.

    October 27, 2011 at 00:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Mike

    I am a registered technologist in x-ray, CT, and MRI [aka RT(R)(CT)(MR)], and although most MRI technologists are very well educated and well trained, there is no national requirement that we receive this training. State requirements vary from one state to the next – there is no consistency. Our professional organizations (ARRT, ASRT, etc.) have been lobbying congress since the 1990's for the CARE bill – Consistency, Accuracy, Responsibility, and Excellence in Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy. This would create uniform federal standards for X-Ray, CT, MRI, Ultrasound, and Nuclear Medicine similar to what the Mammography Quality Standards Act did for mammography. Google "CARE Bill" to find out more, and then ask your elected representative about it.

    Oh, and Sheila has absolutely no idea what she is talking about. Natural SUNLIGHT is electromagnetic radiation, as is everything from radio waves (are you allergic to your cell phone?) to infrared to ultraviolet to x-ray. Your computer monitor also emits electromagnetic radiation. As does your microwave, television, wireless router, etc.

    October 27, 2011 at 00:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sheila

      Mike, I like many people in the world am EMR sensitive, and yes mobile/portable phones stimulate seizure, I cannot use them but for a very short bit. But I can honestly say I have not had a problem going to the beach. Maybe you should have expanded the conversation to the range of EMR frequencies. You must also consider other scientific factors. The sun has natural filters between it and us. But any radiation, especially in a condensed concentrated form or for a prolonged period of time can cause burns, cancer, and other harms. It doesn't have to be ionizing. There has been no conclusive research nor any long term studies on MRI patients to assess cancer risk, so you can't rule out the possibility of developing cancer. Any radiation that causes cell damage and even burns or molecular alteration (the MRI does all 3) has the potential of creating a potential cancer environment in the patient.

      October 27, 2011 at 00:54 | Report abuse |
    • Easy E

      Sheila, RF cannot alter molecules. Sure, it can heat them up, but that is it, it cannot break chemical bonds. It can only affect the angular momentum of molecules, which has never been proven to affect reactivity (though it may alter kinetics, the jury is still out on that one).

      If you are truly so affected by EMI, you'll have to get an ultrasound, that is really your only option, and even then you will be exposed to some EMI fields (the piezo head on the ultrasound is actuated at RF frequencies).

      October 27, 2011 at 01:06 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      I guessed it! You say you are EMR sensitive. Get advice about any exposure to radiation then, and please don't go to the beach even with a sunscreen. (Swim indoors at the Y if you can.) I'm sorry that you have had such trouble with these scans; I have a slight allergy to CT scan dye, but not to iodine per se. But you really really need to find a doctor who can both evaluate your EMR sensitivity, find ways to prevent cancer (which has a huge risk in EMR sensitivity), and also figure out some way to help evaluate your health OTHER than tests that shoot radiation into you. And I know that ultrasound isn't radiation, but it can boil an egg. At last resort, there is some sort of gov't agency that evaluates cases that can't be solved any other way. But please, stay out of the sun with EMR, and limit your light exposure (especially including the computer); put a cover over the screen and also turn the monitor down to low. This is not a usual situation, but you need a doctor's evaluation for the simple reason that it needs to be almost worn on you like an allergy bracelet: WARNING: this person cannot be exposed to radiation, including (list all the sorts of tests and scans).

      October 27, 2011 at 01:09 | Report abuse |
    • K

      Sheila,
      You are getting more radiation from your smart meter attached to your home than with anything else. You had better check on this since we are out of your league.

      October 27, 2011 at 12:31 | Report abuse |
  28. Brian

    Hospitals are one of the leading causes of death in this country. But their billing departments are oh SO efficient !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 27, 2011 at 00:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Alana

    How offensive! Get your facts straight CNN. Idiots!

    October 27, 2011 at 00:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Sheila

    MRI Techs were "trained" to tell patients that the gadolinium based contrast agent was "safe", and look at the horrid disfigurements and deaths that resulted. What is a shocker is they just modified it a bit and are still giving it to people. If anyone looked honestly at the metal gallium, common scientific sense would tell someone that hey, this is not safe to put in the human body. But the medical profession keeps doing it anyway. Look up Gadolinium lawsuits if anyone is interested.

    October 27, 2011 at 00:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Easy E

      Gallium (Ga) is not the same as Gadolinium (Gd), not even close.

      By the way, the reformulated Gd agents have a much better safety record. But beyond that, there is the fact that you can also use superparamagnetic iron oxide as a contrast agent – which your body can fully biodegrade safely.

      October 27, 2011 at 00:58 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Sheila – it's not gallium (element symbol Ga, #31 on your periodic table), it's gadolinium (element symbol Gd, #64 on your periodic table). Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (NSF) is a risk associated with gadolinium-based contrast agents in patients with severe renal dysfunction, just as contrast-induced nephrotoxicity (CIN) is a risk associated with iodine-based contrast agents used in CT and X-ray in patients with severe renal dysfunction.

      Also, the magnetic field in a 1.5T MRI unit is 15,000 gauss whereas the earth's natural magnetic field is between 0.2 gauss and 0.6 gauss depending on where you live, making an 1.5T MRI's magnetic field between 25,000 and 75,000 times stronger than the earth. A 3T magnet would be between 50,000 and 150,000 times stronger. By way of comparison, a refrigerator magnet is about 50 gauss (30 to 250 times stronger than the earth's field) and the Neodynium magnets in stereo speakers and headphones are between 0.6T and 1.4T (6,000 gauss and 14,000 gauss – almost as strong as an MRI, but much smaller in size with much smaller magnetic fields).

      October 27, 2011 at 01:12 | Report abuse |
  31. Leana Aivazian

    Stand up MRI IS AVAILABLE by Fonar check out vitalimaging.com no more tubes:) Tomorrow is here!!!! wach Tv while getting it done 15 locations CA only!

    October 27, 2011 at 00:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Easy E

      True, those are comfy machines, but you get a faily low resolution image. Personally I'd rather be uncomfortable for a bit and get a superior image – your life could depend on it!

      October 27, 2011 at 01:00 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Easy E – true, the Fonar is comfy but gives relatively poor image quality, and I have found motion artifact to be difficult to suppress on that machine. All – for those who do not like conventional cylindrical bore MRI, check for a high-field open MRI. There are two on the market – the 1.0T Philips Panorama and the 1.2T Hitachi Oasis. I have scanned on both and have found them to produce images of similar quality to a conventional 1.5T MR system in similar times.

      October 27, 2011 at 01:37 | Report abuse |
    • MelRose

      Stand Up's Only Avail in CA? LOL,,They r here in Pa! But i am not gna resort 2 calling ppl names bc they made a mistake! omg u guys and girls need 2 chill ! And yes i am aware i mis-spelled some words and more and i don't give a S.Takes wayyyy more then that to make meeeeee have a hissy fit.ppl r in a Hurry,SOME ppl and choose to shorten it down! ever heard a slang ect,,,,,,,n please all u guys stop bickering NON STOP like my 11 cuz does w/ her mom!!!! Get offline and have some REAL fun,,,,,hahahahahaaaaa,,,,,,,,,,,,g'night peepz

      October 27, 2011 at 01:49 | Report abuse |
  32. Elizabeth in Mi

    Sounds like too many people have been watching waaay too much House. I just about roll on the floor every time that show has anything about an MRI on, but it sounds a lot like what I've been reading here. It's really simple, if you don't want to have an MRI, or CT, or a beer, don't. Just say no.

    October 27, 2011 at 00:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Sheila

    Elizabeth, there was a guy (poor soul) posting on the Internet that he had had 9 CT Scans in just 3 years, all ordered by his doctor. He was asking everywhere about whether this was normal, good practice or safe. He didn't believe so but didn't know who to believe or what to do. Many people are taught to revere the doctors as "Gods" who can do no harm, and therefore never question anything, but do whatever they are told. And the docs and the nurses say "oh well" it's going to happen to some people, then they go on their cherry way. Not good, we need better medical training in the medical schools for docs, and stronger standards for everyone in the medical or psychiatry professions.

    October 27, 2011 at 01:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mike

      Nine CT scans in three years is unlikely, but not impossible, to cause harm to a patient. However I will actually agree with you one the point about people blindly following their doctors. I always encourage patients to ask questions of all their medical providers, whether it be doctors, techs, nurses, respiratory therapists, etc., and I am one of the techs that routinely questions orders from physicians if they don't make sense to me. However, I have worked with techs who don't like to question the docs due to fear, laziness, or whatever. Often times a CT scan is repeated merely because the ordering doc did not notice the report of one done twelve hours prior or at another facility, and neither the nurses nor the techs notice this. Personally I make it a point to explain the exam to the patient and family in as much detail as they want, and in order to do that I have to understand the rationale behind the exam first. For this reason I have quite a few docs cell numbers in my own phone. Just saying "Oh well" and proceeding with an exam is NEVER acceptable in my book, but sadly I have seen it happen all too frequently in hospitals.

      October 27, 2011 at 01:25 | Report abuse |
    • Leo

      1. Listening to one person on the internet reference "some guy on the internet" as evidence is laughable.

      2. CT scans actually DO expose people to ionizing radiation, unlike MRI's, which DO NOT expose people to ionizing radiation.

      3. You fail to mention what this "guy" had happen to him as a result. Did he develop cancer (which happens to over 40% of the population anyway)? Or did he start developing an allergic reaction to the CONTRAST used in the CT scan? People can develop allergies to lots of stuff, including peanuts.

      4. Your understanding of how magnetism works is sad, and your scare-mongering is a pitiful cry for attention.

      I have an MRI scheduled next week. This will be the 6th one I've had in my lifetime. I'm a scientist, I've studied this stuff, I have a strong sense of self-preservation, and I'm not worried. You... might want to consider psychotherapy or valium.

      October 27, 2011 at 16:06 | Report abuse |
  34. Sean

    Seriously, what kind of medical reporting do all of you on here expect from someone who got their bachelor's degree in history??? It says that she got her masters in public health though. That makes her... ....Waite for it.......Waite for it......Super Smart!!!

    October 27, 2011 at 01:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Needs Regulation...

    If MRI would benefit from a little more regulation to prevent improperly trained personnel (non-technologists) from being allowed to run the MRI scanner, CNN's website and other websites could also benefit from some regulations so that improperly trained people (Sheila) are not allowed to misinform or be misinformed.

    There are so many inaccuracies/misunderstandings from people who think they have educated themselves on the internet. I am sure that the internet is way more dangerous than MRI.

    October 27, 2011 at 01:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. MRI Installer

    The company I worked for utilized Electromagnets Vs, Superconducting magnets. The early models used tons of permanent magnetic bricks.
    I can tell you we played with the magnet before the field was tuned before the covers went on.
    We would take a twelve inch screwdriver and release it from six feet away, Watched it fly into the gap and stand staight up after coming to rest.
    Another intresting phenomena was when an aluminum builders level was placed on edge and tipped over would fall in slow motion as if it was under water. When the same level was waved through the center of the gap, it resisted like a paddle in water.
    Todays super conducting magnets Can kill you if caught between it and large metal objects.

    October 27, 2011 at 02:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mike

      Being an MR installer I would think that you would exercise more caution and not play around with the strong magnetic field and screwdrivers. And why aren't you using safety (e.g., non-ferrous) screwdrivers? You're an accident waiting to happen.

      October 27, 2011 at 02:22 | Report abuse |
  37. TAA

    After reading the biographical webpage for Elizabeth Cohen at CNN and having watched the CNN video we have been talking about all day; does anyone else see a disconnect?

    http://www.cnn.com/CNN/anchors_reporters/cohen.elizabeth.html

    Today's video seems out of character if I am to believe what has been written about Ms. Cohen.

    One can only hope an apology is forth coming but maybe I am being un-professional?

    October 27, 2011 at 02:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Lisa

    If anyone watched the FDA conference Tues, Oct 25, (I did) the quote was "many states have more restrictions of hairdressers." This was made by someone in the MRI industry, not by the CNN journalist. This comment was made to the FDA in reference to promote keeping education ongoing for techs. We all know the new devices are out there all the time (how many do you hear about in a timely manner and how do you get that info? Or is the 1st time you hear about it is when a patient comes in with their card and you have to go to "The List" ...that is if the patient even has a card.)
    There we many great points brought up at this meeting that will benefit both the MRI Technologist and therefore our patients if any of the ideas are implemented. Unfortunately this the one line CNN picked up on?

    Other quotes were:" Patients get their info from episodes of "House", "Patients learn from Hollywood", and the best was a story about how a older lady was asked 3 times if she had a pacemaker and she responded "no;" once inside the MRI room she said "oh, by the way, I do have a pacemaker, but my neighbor told me not to tell you because you wouldn't scan me" Just BRILLIANT! These are the dangers realities of ours everyday.

    This was a great conference!

    Registered MRI Technologist for 17years and counting.

    October 27, 2011 at 02:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mike

      I have had a similar event when a patient denied having a pacemaker/defibrillator, but after I noticed a funny looking bump below her left shoulder and questioned her about it, she replied, "thats what keeps my heart going". I now either use a ferromagnetic detector (one site) or resort to the manual pat-down (older site, not yet upgraded).

      Periodically I give presentations on MRI to various groups in our community, and one slide in the "MRI Myths" portion of my powerpoint presentation has a picture of Hugh Laurie with the "House MD" logo with the caption "If you've seen it on House, it's probably not true!". It brings the "house" down every time!

      October 27, 2011 at 02:18 | Report abuse |
  39. Mike

    BTW, there are two Mikes posting now. Sorry for any confusion.

    October 27, 2011 at 02:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lisa

      When I ask patients if they have any questions before we start, I've had a number say "no, I watch "House". Come on! I have been on the "House" forum boards and there are plenty of MRI Techs on there complaining about MR depiction. We know its not reality, but the public does. Patient education...start there. House can still be sarcastic. that's why he's great!

      October 27, 2011 at 02:26 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I agree, patient education is the key. I have lost count of the number of patients who claimed an iodine allergy because the contrast "made them hot all over". Had a tech explained to the patient that this fairly normal for CT contrast it would have saved much anxiety, prednisone, Benadryl, time, and paperwork! My powerpoint also has a slide with a CT bore and an MR bore, and I ask the audience to identify them. Results are about 50/50 – equal to random chance.

      I do think the producers of House missed a golden character opportunity. Can you imaging being the MRI tech in House's hospital? LOL!

      October 27, 2011 at 02:37 | Report abuse |
  40. Kristin

    re: electromagnets... In physics grad school it is a time honored tradition to play stupidly with electromagnets... you do learn respect that way, in fact "playing" with equipment is one way of learning about it... I doubt anyone who has done that would ever forget some of the things that a "technologist" apparently may in checking for metal (e.g. other story about a cane)... But in the grad student's defense the professors started it first. One of my mentors is a member of the NAS and worked on the Manhattan project and told me this: When making the atom bomb they used an electromagnet for part of their research... one of the professors (remember this was a long time ago) wanted to see what would happen if a human being stuck their head in the electromagnet but didn't want to risk his brain, so he called a graduate student over and without telling him why told him to stick his head in, and then asked him how he felt, he said fine and nothing happened, so the professor sticks his head in and starts screaming bloody murder... The electromagnet wound up setting up currents between fillings and cracked his teeth... this was back in the days before junk food and the grad student didn't have any fillings...

    October 27, 2011 at 07:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Kristin

    Oh and on the subject of harm and MRIs, how about contrast aggravating asthma- neither tech, nor form asked me if I had asthma before injecting contrast, was coughing non-stop after I came out, and found out later about this...

    October 27, 2011 at 07:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Kit

    What an insult to the MRI and Radiologic profession ! Where did they get the information about the "training" being less than a beautician? Please post the reference on that ! I am an MRI "Technologist" since 1994 ! I have
    a B.S. degree including advanced licenses as well in the field of Radiology. 7 years worth of college including
    current State licenses and national requirements met. The ARRT governs our licenses. That stands for the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Employers can look up our licenses to see if they are in good standing
    before hiring as well. BTW, all "technologists" have to have continuing education
    every two years including CPR. We have to meet the requirements to keep our licenses AND I would like to add
    that "MRI" departments as well as Radiology departments are ACR accredited (American College of Radiology), which
    hold high standards. When you get any diagnostic exam, ask the technologist if the site is "ACR" accredited. Medicare
    is only paying for ACR sites now, so everyone is up to date or in the process of doing so. This news story shows video of extreme "what if " situations. What a joke. The technologists are not only properly trained to be there in the first place, but are also monitored by the attending Radiologist, which is the MD who reads the scans !
    Boo and Hiss to CNN for this story !!!!!
    Next time, CHECK YOUR FACTS PROPERLY BEFORE POSTING A POORLY INFORMED STORY SUCH AS THIS !!!
    (I am sure I will not be the last MRI technologist or radiologic technologist that will post a thumbs down on this
    story!)
    (( Elizabeth, please stick to putting on your lipstick correctly and looking good in front of the camera and refrain from these silly and misinformed stories in the future. Oh, and please be sure to read the links below so you too, can be properly informed about the MRI "technicians" as you like to call us,
    who are trained "less" than beauticians." I think you may be embarrassed about your reporting after viewing the sites.))
    I would finally, like to post the ACR and ARRT links so that our readers can see that we are professionals and should
    be respected.

    http://www.acr.org/

    https://www.arrt.org/

    October 26, 2011 at 20:46 | Report abuse | Reply

    October 27, 2011 at 07:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. concerned

    well said Kit, I am amazed at this article and the poor journalism. I expect more from CNN.

    October 27, 2011 at 08:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. big AL in KC

    @Brian, that's any industry. Engage brain before putting fingers in gear! LOL!

    October 27, 2011 at 09:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. big AL in KC

    @hospital employee. To add to your post: not only the Diarrhea of the mouth but constipation of the brain!!

    October 27, 2011 at 09:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Erin

    I went to school for four years. I have a degree in Radiologic Sciences. I am an MRI TECHNOLOGIST. I went to school longer than a beautician. CNN needs to apologize to us MRI TECHNOLOGISTS.

    October 27, 2011 at 11:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Shani

    s a regular viewer of the morning show I am disgusted with the quality of reporting. There is no way CNN can say we get less training then beauticians and sound any bit intelligent. Let me send you my student loan payments and you tell me if the woman who waxes my legs (no disrespect to the estheticians out there) has 43,000 dollars worth of loans to payback. We are TECHNOLOGISTS because before we can practice modaliities such as MRI and CT we spend two years in basic xray school working and 8 hour shift three days a week with no pay. Most of us are parents who hold an additional job while going to school. Additionally, it is the patient's responsibility to listen to directions and when a technologist tell you no medal and Do you have and metal parts? Take the time to listen and answer correctly and everybody will be safe. CNN check your facts and tell a real story!

    October 27, 2011 at 11:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Pyrofeline

    I remember the rigamarole I went through for my first MRI several years ago. I'm glad that we did it to ensure that no issues would occur. The big question was the scleral buckle I had for correcting a retinal detachment. Thankfully I discovered it was plastic and not metal, but still – since that surgery was back in '86 it made for a heck of a time trying to track down the information. I am willing to go the extra mile, answer questions repeatedly in order to ensure my safety and the safety of those around me.

    October 27, 2011 at 11:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Elizabeth in Mi

    Sheila has admitted to being brain damaged so we should give her statements the credit due. I have been doing MRI since 1987. I've worked in six different facilities. Those free standing facilities are all about the bottom line. I work in a hospital now, and I'm happy to say we follow the ACR white paper suggestions as closely as anyplace I've worked. We have had a few adverse events because a patient lied on their screening form about implants so they wouldn't be turned away. I also had an RN follow me into the scan room trying to bring in an O2 tank. YOU HAVE TO BE ON YOUR TOES EVERY MOMENT OF YOUR WORKING DAY and grow eyes in the back of your head. Strip every single patient down and put them in gowns. Lock up everything they have. After you've done everything you should there will still be the occasional patient, like Sheila, who believes they know more about it than you and try to sneak a cell phone, or MP3 in with them. So use a hand held wand to check again. As for the contrast, anytime you put a foreign substance in your body, you run the risk of having a reaction. If you don't want contrast, refuse. I cannot inject you without your consent. Unless you've had gadolinium before, there is NO way for me to tell if you will have a reaction. They are rare, but do happen Take control of your health care, get good info, not the drivel CNN speals, and make informed decisions. I'm not there to talk you into the scan, but I will do the best of my ability, to take care of you.

    October 27, 2011 at 12:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • David

      Well said.

      October 29, 2011 at 15:42 | Report abuse |
  50. concerned

    Hats off to Pyrofeline for the patience to let the technologist do their job . I have been an MRI Technologist for 23 years. I have a Bachelor's degree in Radiologic Sciences which involved 4 years of important training. My biggest concern with the industry these days is the complacency by many medical professionals and patients. Many medical professionals do not know the "magnet" is always ON, and expect to go in the room without permission or talking to the technologist. Most all medical professionals do not know the MRI is never OFF, even the mobile MRI's travel down the road ON and safely contained.
    Most importantly is the patients knowledge of their own medical history. It has been my experience over and over that patients will answer the clearance questions for the MRI differently when reviewed a second time. Clearance for the exam will start at the time the MRI appointment is scheduled with some basic questions. Patients are tired of answering questions about their medical history and expect the information to be available to the MRI office from their physicians office. Sorry, but they can't share. It's the law.
    We, as trained technologists will take care of each and every patient we interact with and ensure their safety, IF we have all the information we need . Hundreds of exams in my career have been delayed until there was more information about a surgery, and implant, a history of metal in the eyes, and correct orders from the physician. Patients will want to "change their answers" as the conversation develops and they realize their will be a delay to their exam until the necessary information is obtained. I have had patients reach for their paperwork and try to scratch out an answer and ask me to ignore it. But, as a trained technologist I am bound to a code of safety and concern.
    In addition, there are more and more new implants being developed ie,. Now there are MRI compatible aneurysm clips and pacemakers which was a definitive NO NO when I started my career in 1988.
    I am excited the technology is available, but as an MRI Technologist it becomes a paperwork nightmare to sort out exactly what make and model these implants are to ensure patient safety.
    These days, it often takes longer for the paperwork, than the actual exam.
    Treat me as a technologist, not a beautician.
    As a patient, know your medical history, without guesses and maybe's . Know the same answers for your loved ones who may not be able to speak for themselves one day ( or cannot remember). When you go to your beautician, tell them exactly what you Want...... when you go for your MRI exam, tell the technologist everything they Need.

    October 27, 2011 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lisa

      What an awesome reply. I couldn't have said it better!

      October 27, 2011 at 22:32 | Report abuse |
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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.