CE spotlight: Don’t forget infection control in the MRI suite*

Nurse Leader Insider, August 17, 2009

Want to receive articles like this one in your inbox? Subscribe to Nurse Leader Insider!

If a patient walked into a physician's office or a hospital and saw evidence that the facility lacked adequate infection control, it wouldn't be surprising to see that patient turn around and walk out.

The MRI suite doesn't seem to have that problem, says Peter Rothschild, MD, president and founder of Patient Care Systems, Inc., in Newark, CA. For years, many MRI suites in hospitals and outpatient facilities have operated without proper infection control procedures, primarily because the dangers of the MRI's magnetic field bar almost all employees from entering the room, Rothschild says. As a result, the area has flown under the infection control radar.

In June 2008, Rothschild released Preventing Infection in MRI: Best Practices for Infection Control in and Around MRI Suites, a white paper that detailed some of these infection control concerns, which include a lack of cleaning procedures and a detailed infection control plan specific to the MRI. In May, Rothschild released another paper, Survey of Infection Control in the MRI Environment, in which he questioned 100 hospitals and outpatient imaging centers to determine the state of MRI-specific infection control policies.

"Unfortunately, it's an area that has just been ignored," Rothschild says. "I think that's the nicest way to say it."

Rothschild surveyed 53 hospitals and 47 independent outpatient imaging centers and asked three questions:

  1. Do you have written infection control procedures, and are they posted where everyone can see?
  2. If so, do you follow them for every patient?
  3. What do your infection control procedures say? Are your procedures specific for the MRI suite? (For this, the surveyor was listening for whether staff members washed their hands or cleaned the pads.)

Of the 53 hospitals, 35 stated they have a written policy, three said it was clearly posted, and only seven stated that staff members wash their hands after every patient interaction.

Editor's note: This excerpt was adapted from the new CE article, "Don't forget infection control in the MRI suite" featured in The Reading Room on HCPro's online resource center,

Did you know members of can receive free CE credits for this article and many other articles (marked with an asterisk) with membership? Just login or subscribe today.

Want to receive articles like this one in your inbox? Subscribe to Nurse Leader Insider!

Most Popular