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Publication Type: Patient Safety Advisory
Single or Multiple Incident: Multiple
Date: 6/1/2009 12:00:00 AM

"Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scanners exert magnetic pull on unrestrained objects, causing them to be airborne, and drawn into the scanner's magnet bore. This phenomenon is known as the projectile effect and can result in catastrophic consequences for individuals near the scanner and cause significant damage to the equipment. Additionally, the static magnetic field may cause medical equipment to malfunction, which may result in serious or fatal patient safety incidents. MR personnel must know what equipment is safe to allow into the scanner room and what equipment is unsafe and should be left out of the room. Proper MR screening practices for ferromagnetic items and establishing protocols for identifying and labelling equipment that can and cannot be brought into the scanner room will help reduce the risk of objects becoming projectiles. In one patient safety incident, a police officer was scheduled to undergo an MRI examination. Upon entering the room, he misunderstood the technologist and brought his firearm into the scanner room. The force of the magnet pulled the fun from the officer's hand and drew the gun to the magnet bore, which spontaneously discharged a bullet that struck a wall. No injuries occurred as a result of this potentially serious safety incident. This Patient Safety Advisory provides actions to reduce risk when performing MR examinations. "

Safety in the MR Environment: Ferromagnetic Projectile Objects in the MRI Scanner Room