Peripheral nerve stimulation during MRI: effects of high gradient amplitudes and switching rates

J Magn Reson Imaging. Sep-Oct 1997;7(5):933-7. doi: 10.1002/jmri.1880070524.


The application of high gradient amplitudes and switching rates for MRI and spectroscopy, resulting in short rise times for the gradient field and high changes of the magnetic flux density in the patient, is known to possibly evoke peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) in patients. These effects have been studied on 20 volunteers under different experimental circumstances. The results of these measurements are partially in line with earlier findings reported in the literature. New information is found for the dependence of the PNS threshold level as a function of the rise time of the gradient waveform. The PNS threshold level, expressed in terms of dB/dt, is found to be proportional with t-0.5, where t is the switch time for the gradients. Indications are found that magnitude of B, the modulus of the gradient vector field, is more closely related to the PNS threshold level than Bx, the imaging component of the gradient field. From the experiments, it is furthermore concluded that only for the imaging protocols characterized by the application of long bipolar repetitive gradient pulse trains, such as echoplanar imaging, PNS is expected at the reported threshold levels. For the protocols based on spin echo, turbo spin echo, inversion recovery, fast field echo, etc., characterized by shorter gradient pulse trains, the threshold levels are expected to be much higher.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Electric Stimulation / methods*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / instrumentation
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Peripheral Nervous System / anatomy & histology
  • Peripheral Nervous System / physiology*
  • Reference Values
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology*