29 October 2022

Playing films during paediatric MRI scans

You are a child and you need an MRI scan so the doctors can work out how best to help you. The machine is really loud. You are asked to lie very still, then your favourite film comes on a TV next to you. You are immersed in a world of animation. Time flies and suddenly the test is over.

Pedro Freitas, MRI Superintendent Radiographer, says: “When in hospital, children often need scans and tests to help medical professionals diagnose a range of illnesses or injuries.

A proportion of these will be identifying cancerous tumours in our patients so that we can begin the next steps, whether that is radiotherapy or surgery.

If a child is distressed, we need to use general anaesthetic which can add additional risk and anxiety for the child.

The Wessex Neurological Centre’s paediatric MRI scanners sees over 2,000 children a year under the age of 16.

Through the Piam Brown children’s cancer ward fund of Southampton Hospitals Charity, we’ve installed a TV in the MRI scanner so our patients can watch their favourite film during the scan to help distract them.

Some scans can be quite lengthy, so this has proved popular with our younger children and their parents!

Making the children more comfortable improves the chance of getting a high-quality diagnostic scan while awake and increases the number of patients we can use in the MRI scanners.

It is always very rewarding to see that a child was able to leave the department with a smile.”

Rachel Funnell, Piam Brown Ward Charity Coordinator, says: “Thank you so much to everyone who donated to Southampton Hospitals Charity, and especially Nationwide Building Society for making this possible for our patients.

This is the second TV that we’ve funded for the scanners, and it is a fantastic addition to our children’s hospital. It has already begun to make a difference for our patients!”

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