Objective: One prerequisite for transferring ultra-high-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (>3T) into clinical diagnostic workup is a low rate of side effects. To our knowledge, publications of subjective acceptance and willingness to undergo examinations at >3T are rare. We present first results from our research site.
Materials and methods: Exposure to 7 T whole-body MRI of head, extremities, or breast was assessed in 102 subjects. They judged sources of discomfort (examination duration, room temperature) and physiological sensations (vertigo, light flashes) on a 10-point scale, differentiating between examination phases: table stationary or moving. For comparison, the same questionnaire was completed by 43 of these subjects after undergoing a 1.5 T examination. Vertigo was the most pronounced sensation at 7 T with 5% rating it as very unpleasant (none at 1.5 T). This should be compared with the fact that the lengthy exam duration was regarded as even more uncomfortable. Compared to 1.5 T, average study duration at 7 T was roughly doubled, and 7 T elicited a wider range of complaints.
Conclusion: Although the number of side effects is increased at 7 T compared to 1.5 T, 7 T was well tolerated by the majority of subjects. Further data collection is necessary for better understanding of these effects.