How MRI safety works and its purpose
During the MRI examination, the patients are placed in a scanner or an MR system. The MR system is a large and donut-shaped device; the device is also open at both ends. The protons, atomic particles found in several body tissues, align with the powerful magnetic fields. Signals are then produced as a result of applied radio waves interacting with the protons, and then they are picked by a receiver located in the MR scanner. The computer then helps in processing the images as slices, a way that can be viewed using any orientation.
The examination of MRI does not cause any pain to the person being examined, and there is also no known tissue damage caused by the electromagnetic field (Zagoudis, 2019). The scanner or the MR system produces loud knocking, tapings, and other noises during the MRI examination procedure. During the examination, the MRI technologies are always in constant communication with the person being examined to ensure that they are safe and know what to be done in every step made up to a positive result expected. The MRI procedure is preferred for diagnosing abnormal conditions and potential problems in large numbers and may affect various parts of the body if not well taken care of. Generally, the MRI is responsible for creating pictures showing the differences between the unhealthy and the healthy or the normal and the abnormal tissues within the body. Some organs physicians use MRI to examine include joints, spine, brain, pelvic region, abdomen, breasts, heart, blood vessels, and other body organs that are not mentioned.
Safety Updates on MRI
There have been various conversations concerning how patients are supposed to be kept safer during the MRI examination. However, joint communication has never updated the standards of MRI since 2015, and the technology is also continuing to evolve (Korchinski, 2015). There is a guidance document published by the American College of Radiology (ACR) Committee concerning the safety of MRI. The document published by the ACR committee was all about the recommendations that various societies gave out concerning MRI safety. Some of the few areas that these recommendations focused on are as follows:
Patient screening- The update by the ACR in their 2019 document suggested that an x-ray be conducted on the eye region for patients experiencing or suffering from eye trauma which has resulted from the metallic foreign body. They suggested that this should be done before the patient or the victim can receive the MRI scanning. The main reason is to ensure that none of the metallic foreign elements remains in the injury part during the MRI scan.
Patient safety- The ACR’s previous guidance recommended that the MRI be divided into suitable safety zones. The zones should have varying magnetic exposure levels from the first zone, the MRI entrance facility, to the last zone, which should be at the magnet room itself. The ACR also recommended some caution barriers in 2019, and the main purpose of the caution barrier was to prevent unauthorized or unintended access to the MRI.
Some of the emerging topics that were also addressed by the ACR guidance on their 2019 documents were specific energy dose (SED) or specific absorption rate (SAR), which is responsible for representing radiofrequency energy that the human body can absorb (Zagoudis, 2019). Its main focus is how patients can be scanned safely using the radio frequency (RF). The SED and the SAR are compared to some extent based on their purpose during MRI safety examination. The SED tends to reflect the total energy being absorbed by patients in the process of MRI safety examination, and this is always calculated as sequence acquisition time multiplied by SAR (Korchinski, 2015).
Urgent issues in MRI safety
Various research by numerous scholars and researchers has shown that the number of MRI scanners is increasing daily. And the scanners also tend to move towards field strengths considered to be stronger. The activity is occurring in both public and private hospitals. MRI education is necessary to ensure that the right environment will ensure that patients who might require assistance through MRI safety are attended to appropriately without any worry or complication. Some of the risks associated with MR are projectile, and many people are familiar with them. Many health sectors have made recommendations to ensure that patients come out of MRI examinations safely after undergoing the scanning process (Owman,2019).
Metal screening is vital, and during the process, the patients are supposed to fill in some special screening form, and they are also to change into safe clothes and not street clothes. The patient also needs to be thoroughly interviewed by the MR radiographer before getting into the examination room to ensure that the patient has been able to fully understand what should and must be done during the MRI procedure. Another risk that is currently being observed due to this procedure is heating the patient’s implant. Injury heating is observed to have increased because of using powerful and more efficient scanners and scanning methods (Owman,2019). The risk can also be caused by incompetency in MRI safety on how patients are positioned.
Technology updates and their importance on MRI safety
Currently, the MRI safety clinicians have many options in buying new scanners or replacing the already existing scanner units due to the availability of clinical 7T MRI in most markets. The presence of these powerful tools does not mean that the other old tools, such as the 1.5Ts, are not supposed to be used. Some patients have to be scanned with these devices for them to get the proper medical attention. Canon Medical Systems introduced the Vantage Orian 1.5T to enhance the existing MRI to help upgrade the company’s newest system. The main focus of the program focused on improving the workflow. The main aim of introducing new devices in the MRI safety procedure with the increasing technology is to find better ways of attending to patients who need assistance in terms of the MRI procedure (Zagoudis, 2019).
To conclude, MRI safety procedure is very vital in the life of human beings since it helps in rescuing different lives of people with different health issues. It also causes little or no pain to patients. The technological advancement in the devices used in the procedure should be encouraged to produce better devices than the existing ones.
Korchinski, D. J., et al. (2015). Iron oxide as an MRI contrast agent for cell tracking: Supplementary Issue. Magnetic resonance insights, 8, MRI-S23557.https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.4137/MRI.S23557
Zagoudis, J. (October 09, 2019). MRI Safety and Technology Updates.https://www.itnonline.com/article/mri-safety-and-technology-updates
Owman, T. (November 28, 2019). MRI safety: an urgent issue for an increasing crowd. https://physicsworld.com/a/mri-safety-an-urgent-issue-for-an-increasing-crowd/