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Avoiding sedation in research MRI and spectroscopy in infants: our approach, success rate and prevalence of incidental findings


Performing magnetic resonance investigations in a paediatric population can be difficult; image acquisition is commonly complicated by movement artefact and non-compliance. Sedation is widely used for clinically indicated investigations, but there is controversy when used for research imaging. Over a 10-year period we have performed whole body MRI on over 450 infants and hepatic magnetic resonance spectroscopy on over 270 infants. These investigations have been accomplished without the use of sedation in infants up to 3 months of age. Our overall success rate in achieving good quality images free of movement artefact is 94%. The prevalence of incidental findings on whole body (excluding brain) MRI in our cohort was 0.8%. We conclude that the use of sedation for research MRI in this group is not necessary. Our approach to MRI in infancy is also described.

  • Imaging
  • Procedures
  • Neonatology

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