Environmental Sustainability and MRI: Challenges, Opportunities, and a Call for Action

Yuri V. Chaban, Jan Vosshenrich, Hayley McKee, Suvai Gunasekaran, Maura J. Brown, Michael K. Atalay, Tobias Heye, Michael Markl, Sean A. Woolen, Orlando P. Simonetti, Kate Hanneman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

The environmental impact of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has recently come into focus. This includes its enormous demand for electricity compared to other imaging modalities and contamination of water bodies with anthropogenic gadolinium related to contrast administration. Given the pressing threat of climate change, addressing these challenges to improve the environmental sustainability of MRI is imperative. The purpose of this review is to discuss the challenges, opportunities, and the need for action to reduce the environmental impact of MRI and prepare for the effects of climate change. The approaches outlined are categorized as strategies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from MRI during production and use phases, approaches to reduce the environmental impact of MRI including the preservation of finite resources, and development of adaption plans to prepare for the impact of climate change. Co-benefits of these strategies are emphasized including lower GHG emission and reduced cost along with improved heath and patient satisfaction. Although MRI is energy-intensive, there are many steps that can be taken now to improve the environmental sustainability of MRI and prepare for the effects of climate change. On-going research, technical development, and collaboration with industry partners are needed to achieve further reductions in MRI-related GHG emissions and to decrease the reliance on finite resources. Level of Evidence: 5. Technical Efficacy: Stage 6.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1149-1167
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Volume59
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2024

Keywords

  • MRI
  • climate change
  • environment
  • sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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