Computational dosimetry of induced electric fields during realistic movements in the vicinity of a 3 T MRI scanner

Phys Med Biol. 2013 Apr 21;58(8):2625-40. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/58/8/2625. Epub 2013 Apr 3.


Medical staff working near magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners are exposed both to the static magnetic field itself and also to electric currents that are induced in the body when the body moves in the magnetic field. However, there are currently limited data available on the induced electric field for realistic movements. This study computationally investigates the movement induced electric fields for realistic movements in the magnetic field of a 3 T MRI scanner. The path of movement near the MRI scanner is based on magnetic field measurements using a coil sensor attached to a human volunteer. Utilizing realistic models for both the motion of the head and the magnetic field of the MRI scanner, the induced fields are computationally determined using the finite-element method for five high-resolution numerical anatomical models. The results show that the time-derivative of the magnetic flux density (dB/dt) is approximately linearly proportional to the induced electric field in the head, independent of the position of the head with respect to the magnet. This supports the use of dB/dt measurements for occupational exposure assessment. For the path of movement considered herein, the spatial maximum of the induced electric field is close to the basic restriction for the peripheral nervous system and exceeds the basic restriction for the central nervous system in the international guidelines. The 99th percentile electric field is a considerably less restrictive metric for the exposure than the spatial maximum electric field; the former is typically 60-70% lower than the latter. However, the 99th percentile electric field may exceed the basic restriction for dB/dt values that can be encountered during tasks commonly performed by MRI workers. It is also shown that the movement-induced eddy currents may reach magnitudes that could electrically stimulate the vestibular system, which could play a significant role in the generation of vertigo-like sensations reported by people moving in a strong static magnetic field.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electricity*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / adverse effects
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / instrumentation*
  • Male
  • Models, Anatomic*
  • Movement*
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis*
  • Uncertainty
  • Vertigo / etiology