Human exposure to 4.0-Tesla magnetic fields in a whole-body scanner

Med Phys. 1992 Jul-Aug;19(4):1089-98. doi: 10.1118/1.596827.


Details are given for the design, construction, properties, and performance of a large, highly homogeneous magnet designed to permit whole-body magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy at 4 T. The magnet has an inductance of 1289 H and a stored energy of 33.4 MJ at rated field. The health of a group of 11 volunteers who had varying degrees of exposure to this field was followed over a 12-month period and no change that could be associated with this exposure was detected. A mild level of sensory experiences, apparently associated with motion within the field of the magnet, was reported by some of the volunteers during some of their exposures. A questionnaire regarding sensory effects associated with magnetic resonance scanners and possibly caused by the static magnetic field of these instruments, was given to nine respondents who had experience within both 1.5-T scanners and this 4-T scanner and to another group of 24 respondents who had experience only within 1.5-T scanners. For the sensations of vertigo, nausea, and metallic taste there was statistically significant (p less than 0.05) evidence for a field-dependent effect that was greater at 4 T. In addition, there was evidence for motion-induced magnetophosphenes caused by motion of the eyes within the static field. These results indicate the practicality of experimental whole-body body scanners operating at 4 T and the possibility of mild sensory effects in humans associated with motion within a static magnetic field. The results also indicate the likelihood of a wide margin of safety for the exposure of noncompromised patients to the static fields of conventional magnetic resonance scanners operated at 1.5 to 2 T and below.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / instrumentation*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / instrumentation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nausea / etiology
  • Phosphenes / physiology
  • Taste Disorders / etiology
  • Vertigo / etiology