New solutions, better training and regulation for reducing MR adverse events

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | September 12, 2022
From the September 2022 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

In addition to the initial training, Brandon Taylor, director of MR safety at Metrasens, stressed the importance of ongoing education. MR technologists are constantly faced with new types of ferrous metals including magnetic eyelashes and metallic fibers in certain yoga pants.

“The complexities around strength of magnets and ferrous metals being introduced into the equation are ever-changing,” said Taylor. “Just even the social norms tied to our personal technologies — 20 years ago it was not common that everyone had a smart phone practically glued to their hand and a smart watch on their wrist.”

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A 2019 case report published in the journal Radiology Case Reports described a 40-year-old patient who sustained second-degree burn injuries from wearing jogging pants during an MR exam. Prior to the exam, she was screened verbally, visually and with a metal detector wand to confirm that no ferrous material was present.

After the incident, the site imaged the pants on its own using high-resolution digital radiography and found no obvious metallic material. But when the staff contacted the clothing manufacturer, they discovered thin metal fibers might have been used to construct the vertical lines on the pants.

In recent years, clothing manufacturers have started to use metallic fibers in to prevent odor and bacteria, which will commonly be marketed as “anti-microbial” or “anti-bacterial.” To prevent future incidents, the authors of the report recommend that patients change into MR-compatible clothing.

According to the Joint Commission, over 70% of MR incidents are linked to thermal burns. Even certain kinds of face masks were recently found to have the potential to cause these burns when worn during MR exams.

In July, a research team at Cardiff University tested eight types of face masks and discovered that five of them contained magnetic components. The masks were found to have metal nose clips, metal staples to keep the ear straps in place and anti-microbial coating made of silver or copper.

It’s essential that MR staff is aware of these new types of threats, but they are not the only ones that need to be trained in MR safety. Keith Kopp, president of Kopp Development, thinks that personnel from other departments including code responders and ICU staff should know how to use ferromagnetic detectors (FMD).

“In our company, every time we are scheduling installation of our systems, we always ask to include all personnel who come in contact with MR department to participate in our product training,” he said.

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