Harrisburg, Pa., December 19, 2018 — The Authority's December 2018 Advisory highlights the risks to patients who undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with implanted devices, such as pacemakers, or while wearing metal objects, such as watches.
MRI scans organs and internal body structures with a powerful magnet in order to diagnose several conditions, including cancer, joint damage, and heart disease.
The strength of the magnet can pose serious risks—MRIs have caused burns in those wearing metal inside the machine, even from unexpected sources like certain tattoos or metal filaments in yoga pants. Patients with most types of pacemakers may experience arrhythmia, an irregular heartbeat that could exacerbate cardiac issues.
It is imperative for patients to be upfront with the care team about any potential risk and for the care team to do a thorough assessment of them before an MRI.
The Authority reviewed events from 2009 through 2017 to identify the most common MRI-associated dangers and developed tools and strategies everyone can use to keep themselves safe.
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For more information about the Authority, patient safety topics, Advisory articles, and safety tips for patients, please visit patientsafety.pa.gov.
The Authority's mission is to improve the quality of healthcare in Pennsylvania by collecting and analyzing patient safety information, developing solutions to patient safety issues, and sharing this information through education and collaboration. Its vision is safe healthcare for all patients.