What are contraindications for MRI in the diagnosis and management of acute stroke?

Updated: Dec 19, 2018
  • Author: Souvik Sen, MD, MPH, MS, FAHA; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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Contraindications for MRI include the following:

  • Metallic implants

  • Claustrophobia

  • Pacemakers, although new protocols allow imaging in selected cases

  • MR-incompatible prosthetic heart valves

  • Contrast allergy

  • Body weight (MRI tables have specific weight limitations)

Patients with metallic implants may have a variety of potential complications, such as heating and pacemaker malfunction and its consequences. For patients with a metallic implant, checking with the manufacturer regarding its MR compatibility is advisable if such information is not available elsewhere.

Claustrophobic patients may be unable to complete the sequence of MRI. In selected patients, mild sedation or imaging in an open MR system may be attempted. However, most open MR scanners provide lesser-quality images.

Rarely, patients may be allergic to the contrast agent (eg, gadolinium) used in MRI.

In the presence of any of these contraindications, a regular radiograph may be indicated.

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