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Emergency Medical Minute


Sep 19, 2018

Author:  Sam Killian, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • MRI machines can generate enough heat from the radiofrequency to cause thermal burns


  • Patients with EKG stickers, medication patches, clothing impregnated with metallic ions, etc., can all increase risk of burns
  • Even skin-to-skin contact within the patient can cause a misinterpretation from the software and increased energy, leading to burn



Cross NM, Hoff MN, Kanal KM. Avoiding MRI-Related Accidents: A Practical Approach to Implementing MR Safety. J Am Coll Radiol. 2018 Aug 24. pii: S1546-1440(18)30762-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2018.06.022. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30149951.

Takahashi T, Fujimoto N, Hamada Y, Tezuka N, Tanaka T. MRI-related thermal injury due to skin-to-skin contact. Eur J Dermatol. 2016 Jun 1;26(3):296-8. doi: 10.1684/ejd.2016.2740. PubMed PMID: 26987101.

Pietryga JA, Fonder MA, Rogg JM, North DL, Bercovitch LG. Invisible metallic microfiber in clothing presents unrecognized MRI risk for cutaneous burn. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2013 May;34(5):E47-50. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A2827. Epub 2011 Dec 15. PubMed PMID: 22173750.

Dempsey MF, Condon B. Thermal injuries associated with MRI. Clin Radiol. 2001 Jun;56(6):457-65. Review. PubMed PMID: 11428795.