Background: Cerebral MRI performed on preterm infants at term-equivalent 30 weeks' gestational age (GA) is increasingly performed as part of standard clinical care.
Objective: We evaluated safety of these early MRI procedures.
Materials and methods: We retrospectively collected data on patient safety of preterm infants who underwent early MRI scans. Data were collected at fixed times before and after the MRI scan. MRI procedures were carried out according to a comprehensive guideline.
Results: A total of 52 infants underwent an MRI scan at 30 weeks' GA. Although no serious adverse events occurred and vital parameters remained stable during the procedure, minor adverse events were encountered in 26 infants (50%). The MRI was terminated in three infants (5.8%) because of respiratory instability. Increased respiratory support within 24 h after the MRI was necessary for 12 infants (23.1%) and was significantly associated with GA, birth weight and the mode of respiratory support. Hypothermia (core temperature < 36°C) occurred in nine infants (17.3%). Temperature dropped significantly after the MRI scan.
Conclusion: Minor adverse events after MRI procedures at 30 weeks GA were common and should not be underestimated. A dedicated and comprehensive guideline for MRI procedures in preterm infants is essential.