Objectives: Recent studies have consistently shown that amongst staff working with MRI, transient symptoms directly attributable to the MRI system including dizziness, nausea, tinnitus, and concentration problems are reported. This study assessed symptom prevalence and incidence in radiographers and other staff working with MRI in healthcare in the UK.
Methods: One hundred and four volunteer staff from eight sites completed a questionnaire and kept a diary to obtain information on subjective symptoms and work practices, and wore a magnetic field dosimeter during one to three randomly selected working days. Incidence of MRI-related symptoms was obtained for all shifts and prevalence of MRI-related and reference symptoms was associated to explanatory factors using ordinal regression.
Results: Incident symptoms related to working with MRI were reported in 4% of shifts. Prevalence of MRI-related, but not reference symptoms were associated with number of hours per week working with MRI, shift length, and stress, but not with magnetic field strength (1.5 and 3 T) or measured magnetic field exposure.
Conclusions: Reporting of prevalent symptoms was associated with longer duration of working in MRI departments, but not with measured field strength of exposure. Other factors related to organisation and stress seem to contribute to increased reporting of MRI-related symptoms.
Key points: • Routine work with MRI is associated with increased reporting of transient symptoms • No link to the strength of the magnetic field was demonstrated. • Organisational factors and stress additionally contribute to reporting of MRI-related symptoms.