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Rofo. 2012 Nov;184(11):1034-42. doi: 10.1055/s-0032-1313065. Epub 2012 Aug 7.

[Dispensing with sedation in pediatric MR imaging of the brain: what is feasible?].

[Article in German]

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  • 1Institut für Diagnostische Radiologie, Interventionelle Radiologie und Nuklearmedizin, Berufsgenossenschaftliches Universitätsklinikum Bergmannsheil, Bochum, Germany.



Feasibility study to evaluate whether a diagnostic pediatric MRI scan of the brain can be performed without sedation by using BLADE sequences with rotating blade-like k-space covering.


Between 01/09 and 12/10 all children with a planned MRI of the brain were included. After age-dependent preparation of the child the MRI was acquired with a parent closely attending. Pharmacological sedation was only applied when strong motion artifacts occurred. All MRI sequences were independently reviewed by 2 radiologists who ranked image quality on a scale of III (excellent image quality, no motion artefacts), II (motion artefacts but still diagnostic quality), and I (non-diagnostic image quality).


326 children (53 % male, mean age 7.2 ± 4.3 years) were evaluated of whom 247 (76 %) had to be sedated. All infants < 1 year and 84 % of 1-year-old patients, 90 % of 2-year-old, 59 % of 3-year-old, 9 % of 4-year-old children, and 2 % of patients older than 4 years had to be sedated. In total, 2461 MRI sequences (7.6 ± 1.2 per study) including 622 BLADE sequences (25 %) were acquired. Reviewer A rated 2077 sequences (84 %) as III, 318 (13 %) as II, and 66 (3 %) as I, whereas reviewer B rated 2119 sequences (86 %) as III, 308 (13 %) as II, and 34 (1 %) as I. Inter-observer agreement was good to excellent (normal/weighted kappa value for BLADE sequences: 0.88/0.56, for all sequences: 0.92/0.71).


Age-adjusted preparation and implementation of a pediatric cranial MRI may reduce the need for sedation. BLADE sequences abate motion artefacts thus enabling acquisition of diagnostic images even in young children. In patients older than 3 years, performance of MRI scans without sedation should be considered.

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.

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