Menometrorrhagia in magnetic resonance imaging operators with copper intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUDS): A case report
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Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy
Cattedra di Medicina del Lavoro, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Dipartimento di Scienze di Sanità Pubblica, Via Campi 287-41125, Modena, Italy
Radioprotection Unit, Regional Health Service, Varese, Italy
S. Carlo Borromeo Hospital, Milano, Italy
Italian Worker’s Compensation Authority (INAIL), Rome, Italy
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2012;25(1):97-102
The paper describes the cases of 3 female health operators with implanted copper IUDs, developing menometrorrhagia some months after an increase of the working time in a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Unit (1.5 T), that progressively disappeared when the previous organization, involving discontinuous work shifts at MRI, was re-established. No known factors possibly related to menometrorrhagia were evidenced in the 3 operators, supporting the hypothesis of a role of the exposure to the electromagnetic fields (EMF) induced by the MRI system in symptoms induction. The possible mechanism remains unsettled, but menometrorrhagia might be triggered by a phlogistic stimulus caused by EMF, possibly the lowfrequency currents induced in the wires of the IUD during the movements of the operator inside the static magnetic field generated by the MRI permanent magnet. Until now, the problem of possible interactions between copper IUDs and EMF induced by MRI has been considered in patients undergoing imaging, but the possible risk in MRI Units operators has been largely neglected. To our knowledge, the occurrence of menometrorrhagia is not routinely checked in health surveillance of MRI operators, so these symptoms can pass unnoticed, especially if they are transitory. Therefore, underreporting is rather possible. The cases described here support the need for further research on this topic, especially considering the progressive diffusion of more powerful MRI scanners (3 T and more), and of the interventional magnetic resonance imaging, both potentially involving higher EMF exposures, and a large number of MRI female operators, possibly using IUDs. The possibility that MRI operators with implanted metallic IUDs can be included in the group of “workers at particular risk” according to the EU Directive 2004/40/EC should be considered.
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