Objectives: The study aimed to evaluate the feasibility and discomfort of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedures in the oldest-old subjects (age > 90 years) using a survey design in a university-affiliated neuroimaging research center.
Participants: Forty-one community-dwelling, elderly subjects were considered for participation. Twenty-nine of them underwent voluntary, extensive MRI scanning (up to 1 h) as part of a project on brain function in the oldest old. Thirteen oldest old (OO, range 90-93 years, mean 92 years) were compared to 16 young old (YO, range 72-80 years, mean 76 years).
Measurements: Likert-style questionnaire on satisfaction following extensive MRI scanning session (up to 1 h) was administered. Data were analyzed by an analysis of variance (gender by age group).
Results: All subjects reported positive experiences with no significant difficulties or concerns. There were minor differences in some rated items, with the OO and males slightly less comfortable than YO and females, respectively. Overall, the OO tolerated the procedures as well as the YO.
Conclusion: Very long MRI sessions are feasible, even in the oldest-old subjects, and are not associated with any significant discomfort. Prior screening and thorough education of the subjects probably help to minimize anxiety and dropout.