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MRI safety: Patients with insulin pumps require special cautions

Wed, 10/06/2010 - 5:34am
Diagnostic Imaging

An insulin pump allows the replacement of slow-acting insulin for basal needs with a continuous infusion of rapid-acting insulin. By using an insulin pump, a patient can typically match the dosage of insulin to lifestyle and activities, rather than adjusting those to the body’s response to insulin injections. The advantages of using an insulin pump include the fact that an insulin pump replaces the need for periodic injections by delivering rapid-acting insulin continuously throughout the day via a catheter. It greatly simplifies the management of diabetes.

There are two basic types of insulin pumps, one is an external device and the other is implanted. Both types currently pose hazards to patients referred for MRI procedures. For an external insulin pump, it may simply need to be removed and kept out of the MR environment to ensure there is no adverse impact on the device’s functionality.

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