Easing MRI Anxiety

WXYZ.com – WXYZ-TV/Detroit

(WXYZ) - An MRI can be a very important diagnostic tool for many medical conditions. But many people have trouble taking the test. The confined space, loud noise and long period of lying absolutely still can lead to serious anxiety. But at Beaumont Grosse Pointe, that’s beginning to change.

Emily Carter has had 5 or 6 MRIs in her life. And since she’s claustrophobic they have been very unpleasant experiences.

Emily told us, “It makes you feel like you’re in a coffin because you so close up in there.”

Patients have to lie perfectly still for about 40 minutes. The machine covers the half of their body being scanned. For a person with claustrophobia that seems like forever.

According to Dr. James Adamo, staff psychiatrist at Beaumont Grosse Pointe, “Claustrophobia produces anxiety that is so severe that individuals often avoid the circumstances that cause those symptoms.”

“Up until now,” he said, “the only option we’ve really had has been medication to control the anxiety in the MRI scanner.”

But now, there’s Cinema-Vision. Beaumont Grosse Pointe has been using the system since October and patients love it.

Rob Kilpatrick is director of diagnostic radiology at the hospital. He explains the system “Will allow you to watch television, you can watch a DVD, you can listen to a CD.”

Cinema-Vision lets you to watch a video through special goggles. And a headset helps provide the sound and cancel out some of the loud MRI noise.

Kilpatrick can’t understand why anybody wouldn’t want to have that. Not just people who are claustrophobic but any patients.

There are nature video’s available or you can bring your own DVD. There’s also the option to choose from the hospital’s library. Emily picked “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

She said, “It just takes your mind off of it. And it was very nice and it didn’t give me any problems. I didn’t have any pain and I usually have pain being still for 40 minutes.

Patients and technologists are able to communicate through a camera and microphone. And there is a panic button that patients can push if they can’t take it any longer. But since cinema-vision the button has received a lot less use.

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