Since movement lessens the quality of MRI images, use of sedation or general anesthesia is warranted to increase tolerance to an unpleasant but necessary procedure, and to expedite MRI imaging of a distressed patient (Shellock, 2011; Medical Advisory Secretariat, 2003). In fact, it has been shown that MRI images are better for children and patients who were given anesthesia. However, the effects of these drugs vary by age and disease of the patient (Medical Advisory Secretariat, 2003).
Figure 1. Keeping still a child in MRI is difficult without anesthesia. Figure courtesy of Asher, J., 2009. Kids’ Brain Development Charted As They Grow Up: First MRI Data Release on Young Children, Brain Chemistry. [online] Available at: < http://www.nimh.nih.gov/science-news/2009/kids-brain-development-charted-as-they-grow-up.shtml>
Because of the health-related risks associated with MRI, the procedure and associated patient care, especially if anesthesia is opted, should be carefully planned prior to actual imaging. Patient care during the MRI setting includes monitoring, anesthetic care, as well as airway and emergency management (American Society of Anesthesiologists, 2009). This paper discusses the anesthetic care that should be provided in cases wherein anesthesia in MRI is prescribed.
Anesthesia, whether in operating rooms or MRI, may post airway complications such as laryngospasm, coughing or any other breathing difficulty (American Society of Anesthesiologists, 2009). Sedation also poses greater threat among those at risk of respiratory and cardiac problems or any change in physiologic status, since the sedated patient may get into respiratory depression or hemodynamic imbalance without being able to inform the MRI technologist. In addition, injured or critically ill patients can acquire central nervous system or cardiorespiratory complications once given with anesthesia (Medical Advisory Secretariat, 2003). These risks add onto the health