Head-to-Head MRI Protocol Beneficial to Children with Cardiac Issues

Placing a parent head-to-head with a child during a cardiac MRI helps calm them without resorting to sedation or general anesthesia (GA). This avoids side effects associated with GA, reduced scan times, and reduced costs, according to a study published October 22, 2021, in the European Journal of Radiology.

“‘We report a novel approach to scan these patients while they are awake, based on efforts to make them comfortable during the examination as well as distraction from the test itself,’ wrote Drs. Safwat Aly, a clinical fellow at the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada, and Lars Grosse-Wortmann, head of pediatric heart care at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland,” according to Morton.

“The parent-child-combined technique is more time-consuming, but the draw on resources is likely less than when examining these patients under general anesthesia or sedation, the authors noted. Moreover, evidence suggests an increased risk of adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes in children exposed to general anesthesia at a young age, they added.

“‘This workflow is applicable not only to [cardiac MRI], but other indications for magnetic resonance imaging as well,’ the authors concluded,” reported Morton.


Safwat Aly,Lars Grosse-Wortmann. A novel approach to cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging in young children without sedation. European Journal of Radiology. Available online October 22, 2012, at https://www.ejradiology.com/article/S0720-048X(21)00486-1/fulltext. Accessed November 15, 2021.

Morton, Will. Head-to-head MRI protocol calms kids in scanner. AuntMini.com. Available online October 28, 2021, at https://www.auntminnie.com/index.aspx?sec=sup&sub=mri&pag=dis&ItemID=133897. Accessed November 15, 2021.