Study confirms "unacceptable frequency" of adverse events from MRI scans on patients with hearing implants
- Published on 14 January 2019
Safety levels for hearing implant users undergoing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are unacceptable and must be improved, concludes a recently published US study led by Matthew Shew, of the University of Kansas Medical Center.
Specific guidelines exist on the safety of MRI scans for patients with hearing implants, recommending magnet removal in some cases, and conditions to be observed regarding the type of MR technology used, all in order to avoid damage to the implanted devices or actual injuries to persons scanned.
This latest retrospective case series study, published in November, collected data spanning from 2006 to 2018 on patients with either cochlear implants (CI) or auditory brainstem implants (ABI) undergoing MRI. Five of 15 patients with CI (devices ranging in make from Cochlear, Advanced Bionics, and MED-EL) experienced complications ranging from magnet removal being required or too much pain to complete scans.
The study's authors, having set out to evaluate safety and "advocate for continued improvement and advancement to minimize morbidity for our CI patients", concluded that their research concurs with other published studies showing that "CI MRI‐related adverse events are occurring at an unacceptable frequency". They recommend improvements in safety through institutional protocols and increased awareness that "diagnostic MRI benefits must outweigh CI‐related complications".