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PPE failure: warning to MRI technologists issued by health authorities

A serious occupational health and safety issue related to PPE in hospital magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) departments has been uncovered regarding the safety of certain masks and respirators in an MRI setting.

HSA has called on health authorities and the Provincial Occupational Health and Safety Committee to provide details on the steps underway to identify and remove any masks or respirators that may not be compatible in MRI departments, and to ensure they are not reintroduced into MRI departments.

The nose bridge of some Medicom-branded procedure masks is ferromagnetic, thereby causing it to malfunction if in close proximity to the bore of certain MRI scanners. The nose piece may be attracted to the magnetic field, possibly creating a gap between the mask and face. A concern has also been raised about the possibility of certain N95 or KN95 respirators also being non-MRI compatible.

There is also a patient safety concern in that there may be situations where the nose piece of certain masks, when worn by patients undergoing an MRI, may heat up and cause burns.

See the Practice Alert on this topic from Lower Mainland Medical Imaging distributed this week.
See the backgrounder from Alberta Health Services on the issue.
A recent study providing more information is available here. 

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