Pediatric-friendly MRI can enhance sedation

Hospitals should use a variety of techniques to help make pediatric patients feel more at ease before sedation and their MRI scans, according to a literature review published in Radiologic Technology.

Author Delaney McGuirt recommended mock MRI sessions, MR-compatible audiovisual systems, and adjustments to children's feeding and sleeping patterns to potentially lessen the amount of sedation and reduce costs for imaging centers.

Sedation is often used for patients 8 years old and younger, but it carries a risk of respiratory depression from oversedation and the loss of protective reflexes and airway maintenance. Thus, the paper recommends alternatives to reduce the risk to pediatric patients, as well as costs (Radiol Technol, September/October 2016, Vol. 88:1, pp. 18-26).

McGuirt, a radiologic technologist from the University of North Carolina Biomedical Research Imaging Center, reviewed dozens of studies published over the past decade to identify the most effective alternatives to sedation or general anesthesia for pediatric patients undergoing an MRI exam.

The use of full-scale replicas of MRI scanners to familiarize children with the scanning process led to a high rate of successful procedures, while also generating cost savings. In one study, MR-compatible audiovisual systems resulted in an overall 9% reduction in sedation rates and a 13% decrease in sedation rates among children ages 3 to 10 years.

In addition, feed-sleep manipulation increased the MRI scan completion rate to 96% when imaging was done during a child's natural sleep cycle.

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