Objective: To review the epidemiology of anxiety-related reactions during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations, the feasibility of identifying patients at risk, and the management strategies that have been applied.
Data sources: Published original articles were retrieved using computerized MEDLINE searches encompassing 1980 through April 1993. Further references were obtained from the primary sources.
Study selection and data extraction: All studies obtained through the data search were chosen for review. All data relevant to anxiety-related reactions were analyzed.
Data synthesis: Anxiety-related reactions occur in approximately 4% to 30% of patients undergoing MRI, ranging from apprehension to severe reactions that interfere with the performance of the test. Criteria for diagnosis or categorization of the reactions and identification of patients at risk are scanty. Several management strategies have been proposed, including patient education, drug therapy, and cognitive-behavioral intervention.
Conclusions: While a more precise characterization of the nature and incidence of anxiety-related reactions during MRI examinations and better methods of recognizing patients at risk are desirable, a strategy for general and individual prophylaxis, identification of patients at risk, and individual patient management can be developed on the basis of current knowledge.