Management of a sandbag accident in an MRI unit

Chee Hwee Lee, Ming Fang Lin, Wing P. Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Our aim is to report the cause and management of a ferromagnetic sandbag accident that occurred when an unconscious patient was sent for brain MRI. A 2-kg sandbag had been placed in the vicinity of his right groin to aid hemostasis after a femoral venous puncture for thrombocytopenia. His clothing and blanket had not been examined thoroughly before he was moved to the scanner and the sandbag went unnoticed. Its attraction to the scanner and adherence to the scanner rim resulted in a minor abrasion and bruise on the patient's face. We decided to manually remove some of the pellets from the sandbag after cutting the vinyl bag at one corner with a nonferromagnetic screwdriver. Piece-meal removal of about two-thirds of the pellets facilitated removal of the remaining pellets and the sandbag as a whole. The word "sandbag" is misleading and led to a lack of communication between the clinical team and the MRI staff and failure by the MRI staff to recognize a sandbag as a ferromagnetic object. Careful manual removal of small amounts of pellets can be used to avoid more time- and labor-intensive strategies to deal with a sandbag accident (e.g., magnet quench or ramp-down). Installation of a ferromagnetic material detector to screen patients before entering the scanner room is recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8392
Pages (from-to)1187-1189
Number of pages3
JournalMagnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


  • Ferromagnetic material
  • Hazard
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Projectile incident
  • Safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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