Healthline: 'CinemaVision' eases MRI anxiety

Published: Apr. 8, 2015 at 2:17 AM CDT
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Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

WALKER, LA (WAFB) - You can't have the popcorn, but you can bring your favorite movie to your next MRI. The technology available at Our Lady of the Lake Livingston makes imaging more accurate by helping patients relax.

"It allows them to go into the scanner and not really see that they're in there, and it's really half the battle. Some people can close their eyes and get through it, and some people can't," said MRI technologist Mandi Monistere.

CinemaVision is a video and audio system that allows patients to watch live TV and DVDs or listen to the radio and a personal iPod during their scan. The patient wears a pair of video goggles that projects images on a screen that looks like it is five feet away. Headphones provide the sound, while also drowning out the background noise of the MRI scanner and providing seamless communication with the control room.

With some scans lasting an hour or more, keeping a patient completely still is critical for the quality of the images. The system is complimented by peaceful lighting and a sky dome. Radiologists say it's made a difference.

"I am very claustrophobic, so I was very nervous to go into the magnet to begin with," said pediatric radiologist Dr. Allison Vitter after a recent test run. "But with the screen being far away, I was there for an hour, and it didn't even feel that way."

The special suite has proven especially effective with pediatric patients. Young children often require sedation before undergoing an MRI.

"We're able to scan a lot of the patients that we would have had to use sedation for at the main campus without sedation here," Monistere explained. "Anytime you can avoid sedation, it's always the better route."

"With kids, it's very scary and intimidating to walk in and see this big magnet and not know what it is, and that it's not going to hurt. So anything that we can do to get their minds away from it is going to be best for them," Vitter added.

It's a virtual solution to a reality that many would rather forget. OLOL Livingston can run ten MRI's per day using the CinemaVision system.

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