With MRI use on the rise, MRI safety is a critical factor in the imaging world. It affects healthcare facility’s efficiency in the diagnosis of diseases safely. Assessment of the hazards, the establishment of the best practices in MRI suite safety and training for all hospital professionals working in the MRI suite, are necessary steps to be taken.Efforts are being made to promote understanding, awareness and communication of MRI safety issues.

The best practices to be followed:

  1. All MRI suites need to document and implement safety protocols. This can include providing training to all the healthcare staff including Physicians, Radiologists and Anesthesiologists. MRI medical director should review all the protocols periodically. Besides, an MRI professional must make sure that pre-defined policies and procedures are followed. The certification for technologists is completed. Every MRI incident must be investigated, documented and also reported.
  2. MRI suites must limit access and exposure to magnetic fields. They can be divided into different zones based on the requirement. While one zone may be open to public access, the second and third zones should have limited or no access to the general public. The main purpose of the second zone is to provide direct supervision of patients
  3. by Physicians and Anesthesiologists. MRI prescreening will take place in this zone. The patient is gowned while his or her personal items are transferred to an accompanying visitor. It is important to ensure that all gowns are MRI-safe. Zone three should be the entry zone to the MRI machine room. Only certified staff and the attending Physician will accompany the patient here. A ferromagnetic-sensitive detector will monitor the entrance in the MRI machine rooms. Ferrous materials on the patient can be detected using a handheld ferromagnetic detector. This  is all about zone three. MRI personnel should be uniformed in MRI-compatible scrubs, shoes and undergarments. They need to avoid watches, metallic writing instruments and wireframe glasses. This is mainly to avoid false alarms from the portal ferromagnetic detector. In zone four, MRI personnel should be able to provide basic life support or CPR to the patient, if needed. From MRI-safe anesthesia delivery, ventilation, pulse oximetry to centrally supplied oxygen, every aspect must be taken care of. This area mayrequire MRI-safe fire extinguishers and of course, restriction of public first responders.
  4. Training is an important part of MRI screening. More extensive training in MRI safety should be provided to the healthcare staff members who have access to four zones. All professionals should successfully complete an MRI safety education program as approved by the MRI director.

There is absolutely no alternative to adhering to the strict guidelines with respect to the appropriate use of MRI machine and complete knowledge about MRI system, for patients and healthcare professionals. Radiologists need to take well-defined steps to ensure patient safety. Responsibility is also that of a patient to actively participate in the process by understanding what objects must be removed during the procedure. Safety guidelines are established by healthcare authorities to prevent harmful incidences; the objective must be achieved anyhow.

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