Resisting the Pull: Monitors and Pumps Designed for Safe Use in an MR Environment

February 1, 2013 | Evaluations & Guidance


Magnetic resonance (MR) scanners allow medical providers to obtain valuable diagnostic information that would otherwise require a more invasive procedure. However, MR technology also presents a unique set of safety risks. Interactions between an MR system’s powerful magnetic fields and other equipment brought into the MR environment1 can result in harm to patients or staff and costly damage to equipment. For example:

Often, certain devices must be used alongside an MR system during a scan—among them, physiologic monitors and infusion pumps. For example, a physiologic monitor may be required during scans of certain high-acuity patients who are sedated or are unable to communicate with caregivers. Infusion pumps may be required in the MR scan room for patients who are not able to lie still without sedation or who require constant medication. In either of these cases, the safety risks outlined above present great concern for healthcare facilities.

Fortunately, many of the hazards in the MR environment can be eliminated through use of specially designed devices that are labeled using the MR-safe or MR-conditional classifications. MR-safe devices pose no known hazards and can be used without any special restrictions. MR-conditional devices have specific conditions under which they must be used to ensure the safety of both patients and staff. Most medical devices designed to be used in the MR environment are labeled MR conditional as opposed to MR safe. (For ASTM International’s definitions of MR safe and MR conditional, see the box below.) Thus, it is crucial that a healthcare facility identify whether a product has any restrictions for use in the MR environment and that it adhere to such restrictions at all times.

In this article, we describe the capabilities and technical specifications of some common MR-conditional physiologic monitors and infusion pumps currently on the market. This information can serve as a starting point for facilities that are looking to acquire physiologic monitors and infusion pumps for the MR environment. We cover the following products:

MR-conditional physiologic monitors:


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