Did you know?

Paper clips and hairpins pulled into a 1.5 Tesla MRI magnet can reach speeds of up to 40 mph1

Further information

For more information regarding the requirement for MRI safety programmes please see the links below:

MRI Safety

Ferromagnetic objects taken through the MRI door into Zone 4 can lead to serious injury, time consuming delays, or costly damage to your valuable imaging system.

When ferrous objects reach the MRI magnet's fringe field, they can be strongly attracted, at high speed, towards the magnet's core. This frightening and dangerous phenomenon is known as the projectile effect.

Who recommends ferromagnetic detection systems (FMDs)?

Regulatory and professional bodies around the world require or recommend ferromagnetic detection systems to protect all MRI facilities

Ensure your facility complies, click here to find out more about Ferroguard FMDs


The Joint Commission adopts the ASHE/FGI Guidelines, it adopted the 2010 edition for hospital accreditation surveys starting January 1st 2011.2

2.2-3.4.4.2 Design configuration of the MRI Suite
Suites for MRI equipment shall be planned to conform to the four-zone screening and access control protocols identified in the American College of Radiology's "Guidance Document for Safe MR Practices". The layout shall include provisions for the following functions:

  1. Patient interviews and clinical screening
  2. Physical screening and changing areas (as indicated)
  3. Siting of ferromagnetic detection systems

"While the use of conventional metal detectors is not recommended, the use of ferromagnetic detection systems is recommended as an adjunct to thorough and conscientious screening of persons and devices approaching Zone IV… It is recommended that new facility construction anticipate the use of ferromagnetic detection screening in Zone II and provide for installation of the devices in a location which facilitates use and throughput."3

Guidelines for the design and construction of hospitals and outpatient facilities (2014). The 2014 edition states:

"The [MRI] suite layout shall include provisions for the following functions:

  1. Patient interviews and clinical screening
  2. Physical screening
  3. Ferromagnetic detection and warning systems
  4. Access control

"Placing a ferromagnetic detector with an audible alarm at the magnet room door…provides an additional level of safety when the technologist is not facing an open magnet room door"4

"The layout configuration of the MRI suite should include provision for the siting of ferromagnetic detection systems"5


Identifying ferromagnetic hazards

Identifying ferromagnetic hazards

All MRI facilities will have procedures in place that are intended to prevent projectile incidents. However, the number of projectile events continues to rise year on year.

Distinguishing between safe and unsafe items is always a challenge for MRI staff. For example a pair of safe non-ferrous scissors may be visibly identical to a pair of unsafe ferrous scissors. Additionally, the information gained in traditional screening processes may be inaccurate, as patients are not always reliable in reporting all ferrous items on their person or conveying their complete medical history. Ferroguard systems provide valuable objective data to assist the technologist to make accurate safety-decisions to significantly enhance the overall effectiveness of your screening process.

With the increased use of MRI, increasing pressure on patient throughput and the move towards 3T and even stronger magnets, it has never been more important to keep your MRI safety management processes and technology up to date. Remember, the MRI magnet is always on, even when the scanner is not in use.

References:

  1. The Joint Commission, SE Alert – Preventing accidents and injuries in the MRI suite, February 14, 2008
  2. 2014 FGI guidelines for design and construction of hospitals and outpatient facilities. Published by the American Society for Healthcare Engineering of the American Hospital Association.
  3. ACR Guidance Document on MR Safe Practices: 2013. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2013;37:501–530
  4. Magnetic Resonance Imaging Safety. VHA Handbook 1105.05, July 19th 2012
  5. Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA): 2014, Safety Guidelines for Magnetic Resonance Imaging Equipment in Clinical Use

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