The most common complication
for patients receiving hospital care is the
healthcare associated infection (HAI). 1
Also called nosocomial infections, HAIs
are contracted during hospital treatment
for another condition and generally are
incurred within 48 hours of a patient’s
admission. 2, 3 Healthcare personnel,
patients, and inanimate objects can be
sources of infection. 4 When inanimate
objects are contaminated with infectious organisms and potentially transmit
infection, they are called fomites.
Various factors contribute to HAIs
and drug resistant infections in particular. As a growing number of pathogens
have become resistant to antimicrobial
drugs, efforts to eliminate transmission of the pathogens in hospitals and
other healthcare settings have increased.
Efforts to reduce incidence of HAIs have
worked. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a
41% decrease in central line associated
bloodstream infections, a 17% reduction in surgical site infections, and a 7%
reduction in catheter associated urinary
tract infections between 2008 and 2011.5
All healthcare workers contribute to
reducing transmission and incidence
of HAIs. This includes radiologic technologists who perform examinations on
patients in magnetic resonance (MR)
imaging suites. Prior research has shown
that most HAI transmission occurs
through indirect contact of fomites used
by multiple patients, which can include
imaging equipment. 4, 6
This study sought to determine
whether current disinfection practices at
8 surveillance MR units in five Nebraska
hospitals were sufficient to prevent harboring and transmission of HAI causing
pathogens on MR imaging equipment.
The study was conducted between June
and December 2013.
It is discouraging that places meant to
heal can introduce disease, particularly
diseases potentially resistant to available
antimicrobial medications. The range
of HAIs includes those associated with
surgical sites and use of devices such
as catheters, along with respiratory or
A Study of Bacterial Cultures
Obtained from MR Imaging
• All healthcare team members are
responsible for delivering quality patient
care and decreasing incidence of
healthcare associated infections (HAIs).
This study sought to determine whether
MR imaging equipment harbored
pathogens that could lead to HAIs.
• Surface surveillance bacterial cultures
were obtained from 8 MR units in
Nebraska hospitals. Cultures were collected after completion of patient care
each day from the unit bore, coil, table
surface, and control panel.
• None of the MR cultures recovered
clinically significant isolates that are
established pathogens leading to HAIs.
Standard disinfection protocols preliminarily appear to inhibit the colonization
of microorganisms that lead to HAIs.
By James B Temme, MPA, RT(R)(QM), Karen Honeycutt, MEd, MLS(ASCP)CMSMCM,
and Stephanie Vas, BSRT, RT(R)(MR)(CT)
The credit earned from the Quick CreditTM test
accompanying this article may be applied to the
AHRA certified radiology administrator (CRA)
asset management domain.