MRI Insights

Claustrophobia in MRI: Solutions and Innovations

Claustrophobia remains a significant concern for patients undergoing MRI scans, affecting their overall experience and potentially leading to lower scan completion rates. Although the actual percentage of incomplete exams attributed to anxiety is relatively small,[1] recent research highlights the importance of tackling related costs and prioritizing patient well-being[2,3].

behavioral solutions:

  1. Educating the patient on the process – Providing comprehensive explanations via articles, videos, and even simulated MRI experiences can effectively moderate anxiety before the scan[4].
  2. Conscious sedation – In severe cases, the use of conscious sedation is an option, although it can introduce additional costs, workflow disruptions, monitoring requirements, medication administration, and the need for extra personnel[3].

Form-factor solutions:

  1. Open MRI – This solution, which avoids enclosing the patient within a bore, is well-suited for most claustrophobic cases. However, most have lower field strength and may cause the need for longer scan times and result in lower-quality images, potentially affecting diagnostic accuracy
  2. Short bore MRI – With higher field strength and partial patient enclosure, this option offers benefits for claustrophobic patients. Yet, challenges may arise when scanning longer body regions such as the lumbar spine or lower extremities, potentially prolonging scan times.
  3. Wide bore MRI – Particularly suitable for both claustrophobic individuals and those with larger physiques, the wide bore MRI system provides a more accommodating environment.

Technological solutions:

  1. Enhancing imaging strategies by shortening scan time – The incorporation of iQMR can significantly enhance the MRI experience for claustrophobic patients enabling scan time reduction by up to 40%. iQMR, an AI-assisted technology, enables shorter scans without compromising image quality.
  • No hardware investment – Update your existing MRI scanner of any model, field strength, or vendor without requiring new hardware.
  • Seamless Workflow Integration: iQMR seamlessly integrates into your current workflow, eliminating the need for extensive training
  • Clear and short ROI – Experience an immediate increase in scanner productivity and efficiency, enabling a higher number of scans per day.
Houston Medical Imaging, service quality improvement project, Texas 2020