MRI Reaction During Cervical Scan

Philip Stone jwlsmith at
Sat Jun 8 10:12:21 EST 1996

Would appreciate any input on the following:
    I had a routine cervical scan this week to look for a herniated
disk.  I experienced no claustrophobia in the scanner - in fact I was
dozing.  About 6 minutes into the second sequence I experienced a very
sharp pain in my right arm from shoulder to elbow, then my heart began
cramping with angina-type pains and I had several waves of nausea and
dizziness.  At the same I began to lose sensation along my spine and
the numbness moved out toward my hands and feet.  Since my heart rhythm
seemed to be okay I didn't call the technician, but when the sequence
was finished I asked to be pulled out so we could discuss what was
happening.  My pulse and respiration were normal, but I decided to
terminate the MRI at that point.  As I was getting up from the table my
jaw went into spasms and then clenched shut.  That lasted for about 10
minutes and the numbness and tingling persisted all day, although it
lessened as the day went on.  The next morning I was swollen and sore
and felt as if I had touched an electric fence for several seconds.  I
have completely recovered now, but no one seems to know what happened. 
The unit was a fairly new GE scanner using 1.5 Tesla.  I do have an
inherited myotonia in my muscles which is probably caused by a
disturbance in the calcium/sodium exchange.  Could a particular radio
frequency have caused the ion exchange to become disrupted?  I did find
a few articles in medical literature about nerve stimulation from
MRI's, but it is usually from the very high speed gradients and my scan
was not supposed to fall in that category.  JS

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