BACKGROUND: Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) devices are becoming more and more essential for patient safety in hospitals. The purpose of this study was to determine patient safety, data reliability and signal loss wearing on skin RFID devices during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scanning.
METHODS: Sixty RFID tags of the type I-Code SLI, 13.56 MHz, ISO 18000-3.1 were tested: Thirty type 1, an RFID tag with a 76 x 45 mm aluminum-etched antenna and 30 type 2, a tag with a 31 x 14 mm copper-etched antenna. The signal loss, material movement and heat tests were performed in a 1.5 T and a 3 T MR system. For data integrity, the tags were tested additionally during CT scanning. Standardized function tests were performed with all transponders before and after all imaging studies.
RESULTS: There was no memory loss or data alteration in the RFID tags after MRI and CT scanning. Concerning heating (a maximum of 3.6 degrees C) and device movement (below 1 N/kg) no relevant influence was found. Concerning signal loss (artifacts 2 - 4 mm), interpretability of MR images was impaired when superficial structures such as skin, subcutaneous tissues or tendons were assessed.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients wearing RFID wristbands are safe in 1.5 T and 3 T MR scanners using normal operation mode for RF-field. The findings are specific to the RFID tags that underwent testing.