Physiological stability of preterm infants during magnetic resonance imaging

Early Hum Dev. 1998 Sep;52(2):101-10. doi: 10.1016/s0378-3782(98)00024-3.


Aim: This study looked for evidence of physiological disturbance in preterm infants undergoing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Methods: Intensive care was continued, as appropriate, throughout scanning in each infant. The heart rate, oxygen saturation (SaO2), temperature and mean arterial blood pressure (BP) was monitored during MRI in preterm infants, median gestational age at birth 27 (range 23-32) weeks and median postnatal age at initial MRI, 3 days (range 1-42). The acoustic noise level during imaging was also measured.

Results: 2087 min of data were obtained from 39 examinations in 23 infants. The median heart rate was 159 and no bradycardia < 100 or tachycardia > 200 bpm occurred. Although 42 episodes of desaturation < 90% were detected only three were < 80, and these occurred in one infant due to endotracheal tube blockage. The median axillary temperature was 36.9 degrees C (range 35.7-37.8) and median BP (n = 6) was 37 mmHg (24-48). The ambient noise level in the MR system during scanning was 67-72 dBA.

Conclusion: In preterm infants who required intensive care during scanning, MRI could be performed without major physiological instability.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Temperature
  • Gestational Age
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / physiology*
  • Intensive Care, Neonatal
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Noise
  • Oxygen / blood


  • Oxygen