MAY/JUNE 2014 RADIOLOGY MANAGEMENT 28
A Study of Bacterial Cultures Obtained from MR Imaging Equipment
surfaces were highly contaminated based
on culture results, one control panel site
and two table sites grew substantially
higher amounts of colonies. Control
panels are touched more often by technologists’ hands, and tables come in contact with the skin and hands of patients,
as well as with technologists’ hands. The
MR bore and coil usually do not contact
patient skin and receive little to no regular touching by technologists.
No MRSA causing microorganisms
were isolated from the MR equipment
evaluated in this study. The types of
organisms isolated by this study were
common skin flora or environmental
contaminants. Unless isolated in substantial quantities, these organisms
can exist in the hospital setting and are
for the most part benign organisms. A
possible exception is P stutzeri, an environmental contaminant that can cause
disease in compromised hosts. 20, 21
This study did not include culturing of viruses. Recent research indicates
that the hepatitis C virus can survive on
fomites for up to six weeks. 24 Likewise,
antimicrobial resistance is not a static
clinical concern; new strains of infectious organisms can develop resistance to
one or more antimicrobial agents at any
time and throughout many parts of the
world. 25 As a result, continued vigilance
to cleanliness and disinfection, as well as
continued surveillance and research, are
A limitation of this study includes
a small sample. Further study on additional sites might yield different results.
Hospital policies, radiology/MR imag-
ing guidelines and accrediting bodies for
hospitals and imaging centers recom-
mend following standard precautions
for infection control, and the results
appear to indicate that MR technologists
and other personnel in this sample are
following these policies and recommen-
The results of this study indicate that
eight MR units cultured in five Nebraska
facilities did not harbor microorganisms
that are reported to be common etio-logic agents of HAIs. The bacterial and
fungal organisms isolated in cultures on
MR bores, tables, coils, and control panels were considered normal skin flora
or environmental contaminants that
patients might routinely encounter.
From this study, it appears that standard disinfection protocols performed
on MR equipment inhibit the colonization of HAI related disease causing
microorganisms, which decreases the
risk of MR equipment as a fomite for
potential HIA pathogens. Regardless,
the literature reveals a continued need to
emphasize the importance of infection
control in the MR suite and radiology
department. Radiologic technologists
must remain aware of microbial hazards
and stringently follow recommendations
for proper hand washing techniques and
other infection control procedures. All
MR departments should have written
infection control policies and cleaning
schedules. A typical protocol was utilized at most of the collection sites. The
basic protocol required that all radiology
equipment be cleaned after each patient
utilizing a hospital approved disinfectant
or a 1: 10 bleach solution.
Additional research on larger sample
sizes could further confirm that standard
disinfection protocols in the MR suite are
effective on a broader scale. Additional
studies could culture for viruses and
potential future strains of HAIs.
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ntopicid=17#two. Updated November 13,
2013. Accessed December 10, 2013.
2Tugwell J, Maddison A. Radiographic markers:
a reservoir for bacteria? Radiography.
3Cusumano-Towner M, Li DY, Tuo S, Krishnan
G, Maslove DM. A social network of hospital acquired infection built from electronic
medical record data. J Am Med Inform
Assoc. 2013; 20( 3):427–434.
4Hospital hygiene and infection control. http://
November 15, 2013.
5Malpiedi PJ, Peterson KD, Soe MM, et al. 2011
national and state healthcare-associated
infection standardized infection ratio
February 11, 2013. Accessed December 14,
6Levin PD, Shatz O, Sviri S, et al. Contamination of portable radiographic equipment
with resistant bacteria in the ICU. Chest.
7Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Diseases/pathogens associated with antimicrobial resistance. http://www.cdc.gov/
html. Updated September 30, 2013.
Accessed December 15, 2013.
8Furlow B. Preventing drug-resistant infections
in health care. Radiol Technol. 2009;80( 3):
9Jackson MA, Newland JG. Staphylococcal
infections in the era of MRSA. Pediatr Rev.
2011; 32( 12):522–532.
10National action plan to prevent health
care-associated infections: Road map to
elimination. U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services web site.http://
pdf. Published April 2013. Accessed
December 20, 2013.
11Kartaginer R, Pupko A, Tepler C. Do sonog-raphers practice proper infection control
techniques? J Diagn Med Sonogr. 1997;
12Fox M, Harvey JM. An investigation of infection control for x-ray cassettes in a diagnostic imaging department. Radiography.
The literature reveals a continued need to emphasize
the importance of infection control in the MR suite
and radiology department.