Sedation unnecessary for some pediatric MRI patients

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Age-adjusted preparation and implementation of pediatric cranial MRI, in conjunction with the use of BLADE sequences to reduce blurring, could work for children 3 years old or older, according to a recent German study.

In the study, published recently in a German research journal by researchers led by Christoph M. Heyer, M.D., of the BG Bergmannsheil University Hospital, Bochum, conducted imaging on 326 children with a mean age of 7.2 years.

According to an announcement, the children were prepared for an MRI in an age-appropriate manner, meaning they were allowed to visit the scanner room beforehand, bring cuddly toys with them into the exam, and were accompanied by a parent. Patients were sedated only in cases where strong motion artifacts occurred.

Of the 326 children who underwent imaging, 247 needed sedation, including all infants, 84 percent of 1-year-old patients, 90 percent of 2-year-old patients, and 59 percent of 3-year-old patients. Still, just 9 percent of 4-year-old patients and 2 percent of patients over 4 years old needed sedation.

Two radiologists evaluated the 2,461 MRI sequences that were acquired--including 622 BLADE sequences--for image quality. The first radiologist rated 99 percent of the images as either excellent or of diagnostic quality. The second radiologist rated 97 percent either of excellent or of diagnostic quality.

The researchers concluded that physicians should consider performing  MRI scans without sedation on patients older than 3 years.

To learn more:
- see study abstract
- read the related announcement

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