Patient Comfort Systems Inc.
HAYWARD, CA–(EMWNews – August 19, 2008) – Peter Rothschild, M.D., renowned Radiologist
and MRI expert, has released the ground-breaking paper, recently published
on AuntMinnie.com, titled “Preventing Infection in MRI: Best Practices for
Infection Control in and Around MRI Suites.” This article expands on the
issue that MRIs are often not being properly cleaned, thus leading to
concern over Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) spread during
radiological scans, in particular MRI.
MRSA was originally identified in 1961 and is now widespread throughout
healthcare facilities, both hospital and outpatient settings. The most
common source for transmission of MRSA is by direct or indirect contact
with people who have MRSA infections or are asymptomatic carriers.
A major concern for imaging centers is that MRSA can be carried by
asymptomatic patients. Worldwide, it is estimated that up to 53 million
people are asymptomatic carriers of MRSA. Of these it is estimated that 2.5
million reside in the United States. Approximately 1% of the U.S.
population is colonized with MRSA. Both infected and colonized patients
contaminate their environment with the same relative frequency.
The morbidity and mortality of these bacteria is staggering. On average,
hospitalizations for the treatment of MRSA versus other infections have a
length of stay approximately three times longer and are three times more
expensive. Additionally, the risk of death is three to five times greater
for patients infected with MRSA versus methicillin sensitive Staph
“Any patient lying on an imaging table could be a carrier capable of
contaminating surfaces in the radiology suite,” said Peter Rothschild,
M.D., who is attempting to transform the MRI community’s attitude
concerning infection control. He adds “MRSA and other pathogens can live
on and in common MRI table pads and positioners for periods as long as
Patients need to ask questions when they go to a hospital or imaging center
for an MRI scan. What are the cleaning procedures? How old are the pads? Do
the imaging technologists wash their hands between every patient? How do
technologists disinfect the MRI table and pads?
“At many MRI centers, there exists a false belief that merely placing a
clean sheet over contaminated table pads, without actually cleaning them
between patients, will somehow prevent the spread of infectious agents.
What is most concerning is that very few MRI centers regularly clean their
pads even once a day, much less between patients,” Dr. Rothschild
continued. “Additionally, almost all pad sets I have seen in use that are
over a few years old are torn or frayed and should have been discarded long
ago. It is disgusting to see the terrible conditions of some of the pads
that patients come in close contact with in these MRI centers. Old, torn
and frayed pads are impossible to properly clean and are a breeding ground
To combat this potentially lethal public healthcare issue, Dr. Rothschild
has developed a technique for determining the safety of pads used in MRI.
This technique involves using a magnifying glass to thoroughly examine all
the seams for a tear or fraying and the use of a black light to check pads
for biological contamination. However, few, if any, MRI centers have
adopted these simple safety procedures.
Dr. Rothschild advises, “The best way I have found for patients to protect
themselves is to ask to see the center’s written infection control policies
before their scans, and visit the center. If there are no written policies
I can assure you that infection control has a low priority at that MRI
center and I would look for another MRI center where infection control was
Educating the Public
To request a copy of Dr. Rothschild’s white paper, entitled “Preventing
Infections in MRI: Best practices for infection control in and around MRI,”
please contact Doug Kohl, Sierra Communications, (209) 586-5887, or
About Peter Rothschild, M.D.
Dr. Peter Rothschild is considered one of the world’s foremost Open MRI
experts. He formerly served as Medical Director of the research laboratory
at the University of California, San Francisco, where he helped develop the
first commercially available Open MRI scanner. He is the editor of the
first textbook on Open MRI, authored numerous papers on the subject and is
a sought after speaker who lectures on MRI and its future. Dr. Rothschild
is a Board Certified Radiologist and served as an Adjunct Assistant
Professor of Radiology at the University of California at San Francisco. He
earned his M.D. degree in 1981 from the University of Louisville, in
Louisville, Kentucky. He is founder and president of Patient Comfort Systems
Inc., a company dedicated to patient comfort and safety.
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