Long-Term Care

Trainer's tip: Understand items and conditions problematic to MRI scanning

LTC Nursing Assistant Trainer, February 9, 2012

Other medical conditions, devices, and metallic items that are potentially problematic during MRI scanning are as follows:

  • Aneurysm clips.
  • Artificial eyes.
  • Cardiac pacing wires are sometimes left in place after heart bypass surgery.
  • Some eye shadow has a metallic base. Avoid eye makeup if a study is being done of the head.
  • Facial reconstruction surgery may involve implanted metal and wires.
  • Some heart valves may be scanned, but some cannot. Notify the scheduling secretary if the resident has had open-heart surgery.
  • Hernia mesh can usually be scanned safely, even if it contains metal. Notify the MRI center if mesh is present.
  • Metal in the eyes from accidental injury (an eye x -ray must be taken prior to the study as even a tiny fragment can damage the eye).
  • Prosthesis should be removed before the MRI study.
  • Shrapnel may cause a problem. Each case is reviewed by the radiologist individually.

Because there are so many variables related to safety of the MRI procedure, listing all contraindicated items here is impossible. Contact your local MRI diagnostic center with questions. A comprehensive listing of 1,300 items that have been safely tested with MRI can be found at www.mrisafety.com/.

This is an excerpt from the HCPro book, The Long-Term Care Nursing Desk Reference, Second Edition, by Barbara Acello, MS, RN.

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