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Kids avoiding sedation, thanks to a pair of goggles

Imagine being stuck inside a tight confined, cylinder shaped machine for up to an hour with your face just inches from the capsule. You're told you have to be perfectly still while the machine takes its images or you'll have to do it all over again.

Now imagine explaining this to a 10-year-old. Well, new technology is making a once dreaded trip through an MRI machine into a big hit with young patients.

Thirteen-year-old Luke Sheldon spends his free time practicing for the big screen.

"I really want to be an actor," says Luke. "I don't know if it comes naturally but it just feels great to be on stage."

But it's a small screen that's got him and his brother talking.

"I just told him they have these goggles that project like you're in a movie theater," says Luke.

"I was going to go in two more weeks I was really excited," says Josh Sheldon, Luke's brother.

The boys are two of the newest patients to try out MRI movie goggles, an alternative to sedation. Both have the spinal condition, spina bifida occulta. In the past they took medication to help them stay still during an MRI. The meds are a popular option for people who would otherwise have to hear this while inside the machine.  Josh couldn't take it.

"He just had a reaction, you know, he cried and carried on, he said I was a bad mother it was horrible absolutely horrible," says Dawn Sheldon, Luke and Josh's mom.

But a system, complete with headphones and goggles, shuts out the noise and allows kids to watch DVD's during the procedure.

"For a cat scan for example, where radiation is involved we want to do this once and be done," says Alex Daneshmand, DO., FAAP, pediatric critical care physician and medical director for pediatric sedation service at the Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida.

"We've had as young as 4 and 5 year olds use the goggles which is pretty amazing for them to hold still for sometimes 20 minute exams up to an hour, hour and a half," says Heather Haddock, a registered nurse.

Saving time and repeat tests while making a routine procedure something to look forward to. Doctors say the goggles can save time and money by reducing the number of tests, and virtually eliminating hospital sedation costs.

Since using the goggles, some specialists say they've seen the number of children completing their scans without sedation double. Some hospitals also offer the movie goggles to adults.

Additional Information:

BACKGROUND: It has been a recurring problem for younger children and sometimes adults to sit still long enough for a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). An MRI test usually takes 30 to 60 minutes but can take as long as 2 hours. When a patient is receiving an MRI they are strapped by their arms, chest, and head on the table that pushes them into a cylinder barely big enough for them to fit through. For some patients this might result in feeling claustrophobic, thus sedatives are given. To avoid the use of sedatives in younger patients where the use is most common, CinemaVision Virtual Reality MRI headset was created (Source: www.webmd.com). CinemaVision Virtual Reality MRI headset is a 3-D virtual reality system providing multiple entertainment possibilities for the patient.

WHAT ALL IS INCLUDED IN THE SYSTEM: The CinemaVision Virtual Reality MRI headset includes:

  •  MRI video goggles and audio headset
  •  DVD/TV player controller
  •  MRI technologist remote control
  •  MRI technologist camera for positive 2 way communication

The MRI video goggles and audio headset offers images similar to a high-resolution 62-inch screen that is 5 feet away. The head-mount fits completely within the head coil and operates inside the magnet bore with no detrimental effects on the magnet inside the MRI machine. The DVD/TV player controller offers the patient a choice in entertainment. They can choose from any available television show or DVD. Since the audio set is attached to the goggles an input is also available for CD's and AM/FM radio. The system provides 2 way communications: the tech camera allows the patient to be able to see the technologist when they are talking to them and the remote allows the patient to hear what the technologist is saying.

BENEFITS OF CINEMAVISION VIRTUAL REALITY: The system has benefits for both the patient and the doctor. For the patient, it helps to reduce the number of overall child sedations, which is a key concern to parents, and it of course provides 3-D entertainment. For the doctor, it helps to reduce the number of scans lost due to patients becoming claustrophobic. It can also increase the number of MRI's performed a day by making them more enjoyable so patients don't cancel. The list price is $44,000, but hospitals save the money by decreasing the number of failed MRI's.

A SUCCESS STORY: The system was installed in the MRI at Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida in August 2011. The number of children to complete their scans without sedation doubled at the Children's Hospital in Fort Myers (Source: www.cinemavision.biz).