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Joint Commission Alert Shines Light on Preventing MRI Accidents, Injuries
Date:2/15/2008

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill., Feb. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Joint Commission today issued a Sentinel Event Alert that urges hospitals and ambulatory care centers to pay special attention to preventing accidents and injuries that can occur during MRI scans.

More than 10 million MRI scans are performed each year in the United States and while most cause no harm, the inherent dangers of the process are not well known. The most common types of injuries are burns, while some of the more devastating accidents are caused by common objects that become missiles when brought into the MRI scanner's magnetic field. The Sentinel Event Alert brings the reality of risks associated with MRIs to the attention of the nation's accredited health care organizations, and offers practical solutions to avoiding injuries or deaths.

"MRI technology represents an important advance in diagnostic medicine, but special care must be taken to protect patients," says Mark R. Chassin, M.D., M.P.P., M.P.H., president, The Joint Commission. "The increasing use of MRI scans as a diagnostic tool, coupled with stronger MRI technology, suggests that the risk of accident and injury may increase. This Alert offers health care organizations specific steps that can be taken to keep patients safe."

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a diagnostic procedure that uses powerful magnet and radio waves to produce detailed images of a patient's organs and structures, without the use of X-rays or other radiation.

According to the Alert, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received nearly 400 reports of MRI-related accidents over the past decade. More than 70 percent of accidents were burns, while 10 percent of injuries occurred when metal objects such as ink pens, cleaning equipment and oxygen canisters have become "missiles" when pulled into the magnetic field of the scanner.

To reduce the risk for MRI injuries to patients, The Joint Commission's Senti
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SOURCE The Joint Commission
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