Claustrophobia during magnetic resonance imaging: cohort study in over 55,000 patients

J Magn Reson Imaging. 2007 Nov;26(5):1322-7. doi: 10.1002/jmri.21147.


Purpose: To evaluate whether MR scanners with acoustic noise reduction and a short magnetic bore reduce the rate of claustrophobic reactions.

Materials and methods: We performed a cohort study in an outpatient setting, enrolling a total of 55,734 consecutive patients referred for MRI of any part of the body based on a clinical indication. Imaging was performed using a conventional MR scanner (42,998 patients) and a recently developed MR scanner (12,736 patients) with 97% acoustic noise reduction and a short bore. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to adjust for the nonrandomized design.

Results: In addition to those undergoing head-first examinations, female and middle-aged patients were significantly more likely to develop claustrophobia in the logistic regression analysis (P < 0.001). The rate of claustrophobic reactions was significantly lower with the recent MR scanner (0.7%; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.6-0.9%) than with the conventional scanner (2.1%; 95% CI, 2.0-2.3%; P < 0.001) with an adjusted odds ratio (OR) of 3.1 (95% CI, 2.5-3.9) and a number needed to treat of 72 (95% CI, 63-85).

Conclusion: The incidence of claustrophobia may be reduced by a factor of 3 when recently-developed MR scanners are used.

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phobic Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution