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Safety first when using MR in a hybrid environment

by Lisa Chamoff, Contributing Reporter | December 09, 2022
Business Affairs MRI
MR imaging can be used across hospital departments, but it’s important to have a good foundation to ensure safety practices.

During a session at the RSNA annual meeting, Christina Calvin, an MR technologist at University of California San Francisco, spoke about integrating MR scanners into hybrid environments, including operating rooms and radiation oncology facilities, as well as in the emergency department.

Calvin stressed the importance of maintaining the door separating the MR suite from the OR, as well as the right staff or personnel for maintaining it daily, weekly, monthly, semiannually, and for annual maintenance.

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"The MR tech can do the daily [maintenance] which usually can consist of just opening and closing the door, making sure it works, that it's not jamming open, that it seals properly," said Calvin. "They may not wish to take that [long-term maintenance] on or learn it. In that case you're going to be looking at what manufacturer-recommended vendors you have in your area and how do you get a service contract in place. These are all conversations that really need to happen with your leadership for your department way before the project happens."

There can also be a patient preparation room between the OR and the MR suite.

Additionally, metal equipment in the OR needs to be properly labeled to ensure it's not used near the magnet. In Calvin's facility, everything gets labeled, and for anything unsafe, they’ve created a 2-foot-by-3-foot wall sign.

The equipment team sets up the MR room the night or the morning of the surgery, and the technologist comes in and tests the door to make sure it's working properly. They then make sure that any equipment that does not have an "MR-safe label" gets one.

Once they bring the patient in, the room is virtually sealed and the MR technologist is in constant communication with the OR team. Should they require additional equipment, the technologist meets it at the door and labels it again.

Staff with implants also need to be part of the conversation and go over the risks of being near the scanner, says Calvin. “It's a heavy burden. So make sure that you really join at the hip with your MR MD.”

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