Background: The purpose of our retrospective study was to assess the termination rate and the image quality of MR exams performed in claustrophobic patients under medical hypnosis, as compared to patients undergoing MR under spontaneous breathing general anesthesia.
Methods: Our study was approved by the ethics committee. The “hypnosis group” included consecutive patients that had previously interrupted an MR exam because of claustrophobia. The “control group” included patients undergoing MR under pharmacologic sedation. Two experienced radiologists assessed, randomly, independently and blinded the image quality of the two groups using a symmetrical Likert scale: 0 = non-diagnostic images; 1 = bad image quality; 2 = fair image quality; 3 = good image quality; 4 = very good image quality. Descriptive statistics was performed.
Results: Eighty patients were included, equally distributed between the two groups. Every patient was able to complete the MR exam. Ratings 3 and 4 represented the majority of ratings. Both readers rated the MR exams with score 3 or 4 in 66.25% (53/80) of MR exams. Only 5% (4/80) of MR exams were rated below score 2. The majority of the MR exams showed good or very good image quality. No significant difference was found in image quality between the two (p = 0.06) groups. The agreement between the two readers according to the k score was 0.105.
Conclusions: Medical hypnosis is a valid alternative to spontaneous breathing general anesthesia in patients unable to undergo MR due to claustrophobia, allowing good quality images.