What to consider when embedding RFID Transponders in Hospital Textiles in use during MRI Scans

Datamars, one of the leading global suppliers of high performance unique-identification solutions, has published a whitepaper to look at the issue of embedded RFID transponders in hospital textiles worn by patient during Magnetic Resonance Imaging exams (MRI). The whitepaper primarily discusses the potential risks on patient safety, along with the possible impact of image artefacts on medical diagnosis, showing which transponders reach the highest level of safety and quality for MRI compatibility.

UHF RFID transponders are used in hospital and healthcare facilities to track and trace any type of textile: from patient gowns to linen or surgical textiles. Due to their widespread presence, it is not uncommon to find them in textiles worn by patient during medical MRI exams. Since MRI relies on strong static magnetic fields, any item containing metal or conductive elements, could potentially lead to unwanted effects ranging from excessive heating and displacement that could harm the patient to image artefacts that could compromise the diagnosis.

The whitepaper is based on the questions which came up between RFID manufacturer, MR testing laboratory, clinical cloth manufacture and the clinical personnel. It goes one step further than the standard MR conditional labelling by analysing configurations not considered in ASTM standards driving the MR Conditional labelling. It focuses on worst case usage conditions of UHF RFID tags in MRI environments and compare them to the results obtained for MR Conditional labelling.

“Test RFID transponders for MRI compatibility is extremely important. While the MR conditional label guarantees the suitability for use in MRI equipment, this is primarily driven by the need to assess the safety of implants such as pacemakers or coronary stent,” explains Julien Buros, Datamars Textile ID Product and Services Director. “There are question marks around whether the labelling is appropriate when applied to components placed outside the body, near the patient’s skin, such as UHF RFID transponders. This study considers the use of transponders within the MRI environment to establish best practice that ensures patient safety and diagnosis integrity.”

The Datamars whitepaper, “RF heating, Force, Torque and Artifact of RFID tag”, can be downloaded free of charge here: https://textile-id.com/use-of-rfid-transponders-in-mri-systems/.