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Intervention helps children with sickle cell disease complete MRI tests without sedation
Date:8/31/2012

Sitting still is tough for children, which makes MRI scans a challenge. The scans require that patients remain motionless for extended periods. Findings from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital showed that a brief, targeted intervention dramatically increases the likelihood that children as young as 5 years old will be able to undergo testing without sedation.

That is good news for children with sickle cell disease, who were the focus of this study. Patients with sickle cell disease often undergo brain and liver MRIs to check for complications related to their disease or treatment. But the blood disorder puts patients at increased risk for serious anesthesia-related complications, so sedation is avoided when possible.

This study of 71 patients with sickle cell disease ages 5 through 12 found that children who completed the short preparation program prior to their MRI were eight times more likely to complete the scans without being sedated than patients of the same age who did not receive the preparation. The work was published online in the journal Pediatric Radiology.

The intervention implemented by the Child Life Program at St. Jude involves educating patients and families about exactly what to expect during an MRI, assigning patients jobs to focus on during the scans and also working to identify strategies to help them remain motionless during the test. "Some patients chose to listen to music or to squeeze a ball to help them remember not to move," said Katherine Cejda, a St. Jude Child Life specialist and the study's first author. "Some patients had the option of watching movies or having parents or other adults in the room with them during the test."

This study is the first designed to determine the effectiveness of this approach and the first to focus on children with sickle cell disease. Cejda said similar programs are used by child life specialists throughout the U.S. to help prepare children for MRIs and o
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Contact: Summer Freeman
summer.freeman@stjude.org
901-595-3061
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Source:Eurekalert  

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