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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
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orange


Posts: 97
Joined: Jul 2011
Post: #1
21-07-2011 12:57 PM

Hi,
I am due to have a MRI scan. Can anybody tell me if there are any side effects? Do they use a contrast? Has anybody suffered from any effect as a consequence of this?
Would appreciate some advice.

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Londondrz


Posts: 1,538
Joined: Apr 2006
Post: #2
21-07-2011 01:04 PM

Have had two MRI's in the last year and no side effects at all. there should be none at all but the technicians will talk you through the procedure. If it's at kings then you will be given a leaflet prior to your MRI which explains what happens.

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orange


Posts: 97
Joined: Jul 2011
Post: #3
21-07-2011 01:22 PM

what about the contrast? Did you have that as well? Does that cause side effect? I have read that it can cause serious problems? Is it necessary?

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paris


Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2011
Post: #4
21-07-2011 01:23 PM

Hi orange.There aren't usually problems with using contrast in MRI.If you are prone to unusual allergies you could mention it to the radiographers who are doing the scan. MRI scannners are noisy.Generally speaking there aren't usually any side effects to having an MRI scan.The contrast is used to get a better image,so they may or may not use it. If you do have
a reaction you could take an antihystamine and/or contact the hospital for advice.They usually discuss health issues with you before you have your scan.All the best.

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orange


Posts: 97
Joined: Jul 2011
Post: #5
21-07-2011 01:25 PM

thank you.

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orange


Posts: 97
Joined: Jul 2011
Post: #6
21-07-2011 01:27 PM

I would appreciate if anybody else can report their experience, especially if they had some side effects. I do not have any allergic reactions normally, but you never know if they tell you is necessary and then it happens after the scan

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IWereAbsolutelyFuming


Posts: 531
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #7
21-07-2011 01:41 PM

I had the contrast injection for a CT scan recently. I felt pretty rough through the afternoon and evening afterwards but it would be difficult to prove it was related. You have to drink a lot of water before hand but I'd recommend you drink a lot afterwards too. I didn't and think this might have been part of the problem.

Don't worry yourself too much over it, try to remember that MRIs are performed regularly with very rare complications.

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orange


Posts: 97
Joined: Jul 2011
Post: #8
21-07-2011 03:32 PM

I have read that it can cause severe side effects and kidney disease, if things go wrong.

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roadie


Posts: 17
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #9
21-07-2011 03:52 PM

Hi
Just a few comments which might help.

Firstly, It really depends on what type of scan you are having as to whether a contrast is used. There are a huge number of types of sequence that are used for the MRI scan and obviously many regions of the body that can be studied.

In general, MRI is the safest form of imaging available as the image is created using a strong magnetic field and radiowaves and therefore there are no consequences of a repeated exposure (unlike X-rays). MRI scans have been performed in infants and also foetuses and are therefore a very safe method.

With regards to health risks of the contrast. Firstly, unless you have been told otherwise, this may not be necessary. Secondly, with all investigations the doctor prescribing has to balance the clinical benefit of having the investigation (i.e. diagnosing a treatable ailment) versus the risk of the procedure.

Obviously, do ask you consultant about any worries or concerns that you have. They will be happy to talk through the procedure with you.

Just to say, i'm not a doctor - but have a lot of experience with MRI scans!

Good luck :-)

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michael


Posts: 3,220
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #10
21-07-2011 03:55 PM

Another non-doctor. But I can Google:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/...003796.htm

Quote:
Risks

MRI contains no radiation. To date, no side effects from the magnetic fields and radio waves have been reported.

The most common type of contrast (dye) used is gadolinium. It is very safe. Allergic reactions to the substance rarely occur. However, gadolinium can be harmful to patients with kidney problems who require dialysis. If you have kidney problems, please tell your health care provider before the test.

The strong magnetic fields created during an MRI can cause heart pacemakers and other implants to not work as well. It can also cause a piece of metal inside your body to move or shift.

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seeformiles


Posts: 269
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #11
21-07-2011 06:57 PM

I had an MRI recently. No ill effects and the process itself was painless.

Hope that puts your mind at rest.

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Jane_D


Posts: 189
Joined: Jan 2010
Post: #12
21-07-2011 08:06 PM

I've had a couple of MRI scans. Not exactly pleasant at the time because of the noise and having to lie still in a confined space, but painless and no side effects afterwards.

I didn't have a contrast injection and would refuse one because I am sensitive to chemicals and have several times reacted to substances that drs assured me were 'harmless' - I think that what is harmless is quite an individual matter.

Good luck with it.

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glo


Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 2007
Post: #13
21-07-2011 08:32 PM

Hi,

I have a PhD in MRI physics and still work in MRI research, but I'm not a clinician. You should discuss your scan and any concerns with the radiographer and, if necessary, ask to speak to a doctor.

I have been scanned for many 10's of research projects; you should experience no adverse effects from the scan. I've never had a contrast injection, and, as stated by others, you may or may not need one depending on what the scan is for. The contrast agent used in routine MRI (gadolinium based) is different from that used in x-ray (iodine) and is safe in people with adequate kidney function. Many MRI units will check your kidney function before administering contrast agent.

In fact, the greatest risk is from metallic objects and implants, which can become projectiles in the strong magnetic field. Metallic implants can heat up during the scan or move in the magnetic field. However, many modern implants have been tested and certified as safe.

The scan will be very noisy and you must keep still. You could be in the scanner between 20 minutes and 2 hours, but 30 - 60 minutes is fairly typical.

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orange


Posts: 97
Joined: Jul 2011
Post: #14
22-07-2011 09:32 AM

a friend of mine had the MRI with contrast 3 motnhs ago. She was not told in avance it was required and was not screened for kidney function. No other health problems, however she is still having problems as a consequence of the contrast. She was not allergic to anything prior to it, but has had tingling, itching, muscle spams, including her head and face since. Hospital denies it is due to the contrast and are not giving her medical assistance. Apparently the nurse let some of the contrast go out of the vein.
It is because of this experience that I am very concerned and probably will refuse the scan or the contrast and will ask for an ultrasound test instead.
Has anybody had similar experiences?

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Jane_D


Posts: 189
Joined: Jan 2010
Post: #15
22-07-2011 09:49 AM

Sorry about your friend, Orange, that sounds horrible. I had a rather similar experience not with an MRI but with a lumbar puncture. They told me I 'might have a headache' afterwards, but in fact I was in agonsing pain for the following two weeks, with tinitus, and had to lie flat for two weeks unable to read or move or do anything else. The hospital said it was nothing to do with them, but my GP visited and gave me huge doses of painkillers, by mouth and injection, that made no impression on the pain. After ten days they admitted grudgingly that there was something called 'severe lumbar puncture syndrome' that matched my symptoms, but before that they just suggested that I had caught a virus at the same time as having the procedure. I did recover eventually but the tinitus lasted another year on and off.

I feel very concerned that patients' experiences like mine and your friend's are not recorded properly and taken into account when various procedures are described as 'safe' - I wonder if these ratings are based on relatively limited survey results whereas in fact people respond to drugs and procedures in a variety of ways, some of them very badly. I know several people who have had lumbar punctures with no after effects but that was no consolation to me.

It is up to you of course, but in your position I would avoid the contrast injection like plague!

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orange


Posts: 97
Joined: Jul 2011
Post: #16
22-07-2011 10:11 AM

I am sorry to hear of your experience. Doctor's do not understand that every person is unique and an individual with its own chemistry and equilibrium and when that is disturbed, things go wrong.
My friend is still suffering. She has headache, sweating, formiculation all over her body, even bruising and pain in her legs, but the hospital rejects responsibilities and have referred her to the manufacturer of the drug and reported it to an agency who investigate side effects to medication, but as all of them are now on holidays, nobody is offering much help. I have read that contrast agents are big business, it is the same stuff they use to manufacture CD and palsma TV and in hosptials it is used in MRI scans. It costs quite a bit of money. Isn't this wasting the nation's money with something which can be totally avoided? Aren't there any other natural alternative?
With all the rubbish going on in the NHS, you are scared to enter even your doctor's surgery.

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Jane_D


Posts: 189
Joined: Jan 2010
Post: #17
22-07-2011 04:50 PM

Have you come across this page about the side effects of the contrast injection? Worrying.

http://mri-side-effects.net/page/1/

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orange


Posts: 97
Joined: Jul 2011
Post: #18
25-07-2011 10:31 AM

I have indeed. Shocking!. Also this page:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/55205280/Nephr...Systemic-1
it is frightening and all to make life easier for radiographer and radiologist.
What puzzlles me is are radilogist and radiographers qualified doctors to prescribe these drugs? They can persuade you they are necessary for the test and exort your consent without giving you all the full picture. Wouldn't this be a case of personal injury?

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glo


Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 2007
Post: #19
25-07-2011 09:36 PM

If someone has been referred for an MRI scan then it is because that is the best test for whatever the referring physician believes might be wrong with them. Ultrasound is a different imaging technique with its own very different strengths and weaknesses from MRI. In particular, an ultrasound scan is much cheaper (and the machines are more widely available) than an MRI scan. If ultrasound was the best test for that person, then they would have been referred for an ultrasound scan.

Indeed NSF is a dangerous, yet rare, side effect of gadolinium based contrast agents. However, as it says in the paper referenced (http://www.scribd.com/doc/55205280/Nephr...Systemic-1), more than 95% of cases were in people with severe kidney failure. Awareness of the risks related to gadolinium based contrast agents has increased and some agents have a greater associated risk than others. Like any other medical procedure, the clinician must weigh up the risk against the benefit - the risk being almost negligible if the patient has no known kidney problems. A bit like crossing the road - it has a level of danger, but the benefit outweighs the risk and we take certain precautions.

Certain things cannot be diagnosed on an MRI scan without the use of contrast agents - for example measuring the blood flow to you heart in a perfusion scan. They are not used to simply make life easier but to improve the accuracy of the diagnosis.

As far as I am aware, the contrast agent is prescribed by a doctor (radiologists are qualified doctors) even if they are administered by radiographers (who are the highly qualified staff who perform the scan).

As I said before, you should discuss your concerns with a qualified person - either the doctor that referred you or ask to speak to one at the MRI unit.

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Jane_D


Posts: 189
Joined: Jan 2010
Post: #20
26-07-2011 06:12 PM

Oro, do you know whether the statistics which form the basis for risks being described as 'negligible' are constantly updated with data from patients who have complained of side effects or after effects? I'm inclined to think not, given my own experience with the lumbar puncture in which the doctors assumed that my getting severely ill hours after the procedure was a coincidence, and dismissed my concerns, even though 'severe lumbar puncture syndrome' is documented and exactly matched my symptoms. The experience of Orange's friend seems to point to something similar - the doctors don't seem particularly interested in gathering evidence as time goes on.

I fear that the decision to recommend these procedures may be based on very limited trials, rather than from wider evidence gathered from larger numbers of patients.

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