MRI is a ubiquitous medical imaging technology typically using superconductivity to generate a strong, homogeneous, and generally ceaseless magnetic field. MRI and its magnetic field pose many safety hazards, including magnetic forces on metals, tissue heating and burns, nerve stimulation, bioeffects, acoustic noise, and contrast agent complications. The primary concern is that a wide variety of patients, staff members, technologists, and physicians can approach the incessant magnetic field, creating great potential for accidents that could occur if metals from the environment, adornments, implants, and other unintended sources are also present in or near the field. Many accidents have occurred and are occasionally reported in the United States and countries all over the world. Through carefully structured oversight and the establishment of strict guidelines regarding access, responsibilities, and training, these risks can be mitigated, and accidents can be prevented. Fortunately, there is currently a wide variety of resources available to facilitate the successful implementation of an effective MRI safety program. This article presents a general overview of and the authors' experience with an MRI safety program in terms of risk management and training. The MR safety program requirements and regulations in the United States devised by The Joint Commission and the ACR are also discussed. With these resources and a carefully selected team, the risk for MRI-related accidents can be vastly reduced if not completely eliminated.
Keywords: MRI safety; regulations; risk management; standard practice; training.
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