European Radiology

, Volume 25, Issue 9, pp 2718–2726 | Cite as

Transient health symptoms of MRI staff working with 1.5 and 3.0 Tesla scanners in the UK

  • Frank de VochtEmail author
  • Evridiki Batistatou
  • Anna Mölter
  • Hans Kromhout
  • Kristel Schaap
  • Martie van Tongeren
  • Stuart Crozier
  • Penny Gowland
  • Stephen Keevil
Magnetic Resonance



Recent studies have consistently shown that amongst staff working with MRI, transient symptoms directly attributable to the MRI system including dizziness, nausea, tinnitus, and concentration problems are reported. This study assessed symptom prevalence and incidence in radiographers and other staff working with MRI in healthcare in the UK.


One hundred and four volunteer staff from eight sites completed a questionnaire and kept a diary to obtain information on subjective symptoms and work practices, and wore a magnetic field dosimeter during one to three randomly selected working days. Incidence of MRI-related symptoms was obtained for all shifts and prevalence of MRI-related and reference symptoms was associated to explanatory factors using ordinal regression.


Incident symptoms related to working with MRI were reported in 4 % of shifts. Prevalence of MRI-related, but not reference symptoms were associated with number of hours per week working with MRI, shift length, and stress, but not with magnetic field strength (1.5 and 3 T) or measured magnetic field exposure.


Reporting of prevalent symptoms was associated with longer duration of working in MRI departments, but not with measured field strength of exposure. Other factors related to organisation and stress seem to contribute to increased reporting of MRI-related symptoms.

Key Points

Routine work with MRI is associated with increased reporting of transient symptoms

No link to the strength of the magnetic field was demonstrated.

Organisational factors and stress additionally contribute to reporting of MRI-related symptoms


Epidemiology Health Magnetic resonance imaging Occupational exposure Magnetic fields 



The scientific guarantor of this publication is Dr. Frank de Vocht. The authors of this manuscript declare relationships with the following companies: SK developed, produces, and licenses the dosimeters used in this study through a University of Queensland company. This study has received funding by The COLT Foundation. More than one of the authors has significant statistical expertise. Institutional review board approval was obtained. Written informed consent was obtained from all subjects (patients) in this study. No study subjects or cohorts have been previously reported. Methodology: prospective and retrospective, cross-sectional study/observational, multicenter study.

The authors would like to thank all participants who volunteered for this study, as well as all local coordinators.

Funding source

The study was funded by a research grant from The COLT Foundation (grant number CF/01/11).


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Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank de Vocht
    • 1
    Email author
  • Evridiki Batistatou
    • 2
  • Anna Mölter
    • 3
  • Hans Kromhout
    • 4
  • Kristel Schaap
    • 4
  • Martie van Tongeren
    • 5
  • Stuart Crozier
    • 6
  • Penny Gowland
    • 7
  • Stephen Keevil
    • 8
    • 9
  1. 1.School of Social and Community MedicineUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  2. 2.Centre for Occupational and Environmental HealthUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK
  3. 3.Department of Environmental and Radiological Health SciencesColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  4. 4.Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS)Utrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Centre for Human Exposure ScienceInstitute of Occupational MedicineEdinburghUK
  6. 6.School of Information Technology and Electrical EngineeringUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  7. 7.Sir Peter Mansfield Magnetic Resonance CentreUniversity of NottinghamNottinghamUK
  8. 8.Department of Medical PhysicsGuy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation TrustLondonUK
  9. 9.Department of Biomedical EngineeringKing’s College LondonLondonUK

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