Development of hypertension after long-term exposure to static magnetic fields among workers from a magnetic resonance imaging device manufacturing facility

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Abstract

Objective:

To assess the association between long-term exposure to static magnetic fields (SMF) in a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-manufacturing environment and hypertension.

Methods:

In an occupational cohort of male workers (n = 538) of an MRI-manufacturing facility, the first and last available blood pressure measurements from the facility's medical surveillance scheme were associated with modeled cumulative exposure to SMF. Exposure modeling was based on linkage of individual job histories from the facility's personnel records with a facility specific historical job exposure matrix. Hypertension was defined as a systolic pressure of above 140 mm Hg and/or a diastolic blood pressure above 90 mm Hg. Logistic regression models were used to associate cumulative SMF exposure to hypertension while adjusting for age, body mass index and blood pressure at time of first blood pressure measurement. Stratified analysis by exposure duration was performed similarly.

Results:

High cumulative exposure to SMF (≥ 7.4 K Tesla minutes) was positively associated with development of hypertension (Odds Ratio [OR] 2.32, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.27 – 4.25, P = 0.006). Stratified analysis showed a stronger association for those with high cumulative SMF exposure within a period up to 10 years (OR 3.96, 95% CI 1.62 – 9.69, P = 0.003), but no significant association was found for (high) cumulative exposure accumulated in a period of 10 or more years. Our findings suggest SMF exposure intensity to be more important than exposure duration for the risk of developing hypertension.

Conclusions:

Our data revealed that exposure to high levels of MRI-related SMF during MRI-manufacturing might be associated with developing hypertension.

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