Is MRI Safe?

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Recently a friend of mine was advised by his doctor to have an MRI done. Having long associated me (Tcat) as being a data junkie, he asked me "is MRI (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging) safe? A little bit of research revealed that while the answer is generally yes, there are a number of caveats to that yes. Can you die from having an MRI? If you don't have the right pacemaker (assuming you have one) and or don't tell your physician, you have a pacemaker, yes it is possible to experience a serious case of death having an MRI.

And depending on the reason an MRI is being recommended to you, may have you experiencing an equally serious case of death abet for a different reason. Often an MRI can be conducted to determine injury after say having an accident. Given this, if you have a medical condition, where you have a metal implant or a pacemaker, it's probably a good idea to make sure this information is on a medical alert bracelet. Of course this doesn't do you any good, if that medical alert bracelet is not a part of your body.

And yes there are other risks involved with an MRI. Consider the documented case where an off-duty policeman reported for his MRI. The soon to be scanned police officer asked what he should do with this SideArm (a colt 45). He was told to take it into the room with him. When you put it on the shelf approximately 3 feet (1 m) away from the MRI, the magnet promptly pulled his pistol into the magnetic cavity. And even though the safety was on, the colt 45 discharged a round into the MRI machine! Fortunately no one was hurt.

A risk to be factored when considering an MRI scan is the element Gadolinium, is found in the contrasting agent, gadodiamide. This helps the MRI image be more readable. And if you have issues with your kidneys (and perhaps don't know that) this contrasting agent has been reported to cause issues with your kidneys.

An MRI scan is considered safe for women who are pregnant.

In the end, my friend had his MRI scan. And it turned out to be a good idea. A quick surgery and life is good again (for him). I'm glad he asked me to look into this. Without doing the research, I would have never known then MRI machine could wrestle away a cops gun.

Tcat Houser is a frequent traveler around the planet, doing research, writing books, articles and speaking. Often, though not always, he uses his own Internet-based travel agency, http://www.travel4roadwarriors.com. You can see some of the cities he has visited by going to http://photos.travel4roadwarriors.com

 

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