Patients undergoing MRI often experience anxiety prior and during scanning. The aim of this study was to explore two simple, cost-effective and easily implemented interventions to reduce anxiety pre MRI scanning.
Seventy four patients attending first time for a MRI head, spine or cardiac scan were randomised into one of three interventions: video demonstration; telephone conversation with a radiographer; or routine MRI preparation (appointment letter). The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) questionnaire was used to measure anxiety levels both pre and post intervention. Motion artefacts were visually assessed by 2 observers and a post scan survey was used to capture patient's satisfaction.
ANCOVA revealed a significant reduction of anxiety in the video group (F = 13.664, p = 0.001), and also in the telephone group (F = 6.443, p = 0.015) compared to control patients. No significant difference was found between the two interventions (F = 0.665, p = 0.419). No difference was seen in motion artefacts between all three groups (Chi2 = 2.363 (p = 0.359) for observer 1 and Chi2 = 1.280 (p = 0.865) for observer 2). Fifty one percent (51.4%) of patients admitted to being anxious, with the possible outcome of the MRI results being the most common (18.9%) reason given for anxiety.
This study has demonstrated that either of the interventions used can significantly reduce pre-MRI anxiety, with the video performing slightly better than the phone call intervention. Importantly, the routine appointment letter did not contain enough information to satisfy most patients, which argues strongly for a change in current practice.