High Field MRI and Safety II Utilization

A. MAioRAnA, T. ScARAbino, V. d'Alesio, M. Tosetti, M. ARmillottA, U. SAlvolini

The possible risks directly connected with magnetic resonance (MR) diagnostic imaging are mainly related to three components that are simultaneously active as the patient is being scanned: static magnetic field, magnetic field gradients and radiofrequency (RF) field.

No adverse effects of static magnetic fields lower than 4.0 T have yet been demonstrated in man [1-4]; in contrast, it is well established that attempts to improve the diagnostic performance by acting on the other two elements may lead to potentially hazardous situations. Although the electric and the magnetic field are commonly conceived of as separate entities, in fact they coexist and only rarely can they be considered separately. Several effects ascribed to variable magnetic fields are in fact due to changes in the associated electric field.

Two possible sources of indirect risk can be magnified by the intrinsic working characteristics of fast superconducting MR imagers: cryogenic gases and the noise produced by coil vibration during sequence performance.

Some of the main risks directly or indirectly connected with high magnetic fields are discussed below.

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