The future of MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) scanners as a surgical tool may be cast into doubt by an EU directive to limit workers’ exposure to electromagnetic fields. London MEP and Conservative Health Spokesman in the European Parliament Marina Yannakoudakis called for an exception to be made for MRI scanners use in research laboratories and hospitals.

Marina visited a 3T MRI scanner today at London’s St. Thomas’ Hospital where she met with Prof. Reza Razavi Professor of Paediatric Cardiovascular Science at King’s College London and Dr. Stephen Keevil, a reader in Medical Physics also at King’s College.

Prof. Razavi is a pioneer of cardiac MRI and performed the world’s first cardiac catheterisation procedures using interventional MRI. Interventional MRI allows for more accurate imaging when performing delicate checks for heart conditions. It also reduces radiation exposure to patients and clinical staff. It is particularly favoured when assessing the hearts of children and babies who are more susceptible to the harmful radiation produced by X-rays.

Marina, who is monitoring the European Parliament report on electromagnetic fields for the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (Shadow Rapporteur), called for an exemption to be made for MRI scanners.
“The Commission has consulted widely with the medical profession on the use of MRIs and I welcome its proposals not to include these life-saving scanners in the directive.

“However recent proposals by the Council of the European Union suggest that it may wish not to make any exemption to EU health and safety regulations for MRIs.

“It has become a cliché to talk about health and safety rules gone mad, but in this case I do believe that the proposals are crazy. The European Parliament must ensure that MRI scanners are exempted from the directive so that patients may receive the highest standard of care across Europe.
“Interventional MRI saves lives and moreover it predominantly saves children’s lives. I shall be working hard in the European Parliament to ensure that extraordinary surgeons such as Prof. Razavi can continue to treat their patients with the aid of MRI scanners.”

Details of the Commission proposal: