Practical Considerations for Radiologists in Implementing a Patient-friendly MRI Experience

Top Magn Reson Imaging. 2020 Aug;29(4):181-186. doi: 10.1097/RMR.0000000000000247.


For many patients, numerous unpleasant features of the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) experience such as scan duration, auditory noise, spatial confinement, and motion restrictions can lead to premature termination or low diagnostic quality of imaging studies. This article discusses practical, patient-oriented considerations that are helpful for radiologists contemplating ways to improve the MRI experience for patients. Patient friendly scanner properties are discussed, with an emphasis on literature findings of effectiveness in mitigating patient claustrophobia, other anxiety, or motion and on reducing scan incompletion rates or need for sedation. As shorter scanning protocols designed to answer specific diagnostic questions may be more practical and tolerable to the patient than a full-length standard-of-care examination, a few select protocol adjustments potentially useful for specific clinical settings are discussed. In addition, adjunctive devices such as audiovisual or other sensory aides that can be useful distractive approaches to reduce patient discomfort are considered. These modifications to the MRI scanning process not only allow for a more pleasant experience for patients, but they may also increase patient compliance and decrease patient movement to allow more efficient acquisition of diagnostic-quality images.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / psychology*
  • Motion
  • Noise
  • Patient Comfort / methods*
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Radiologists
  • Time