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Siemens' new MR kit may reduce pediatric anxiety and need for sedation

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | October 28, 2014
Siemens' MRI Heroes Kit
Siemens Healthcare kicked off their MRIamahero! pediatric imaging campaign along with Weill Cornell Imaging at NewYork-Presbyterian and Marvel yesterday in New York City. The centerpiece of the campaign is Siemens' new MRI Heroes Kit, which uses education to reduce children's anxiety over MR exams.

The kit includes an educational video about a six-year-old girl named Abigail who is undergoing her first MR exam, 100 comic books featuring Marvel's Captain America and Iron Man, 100 plush toys, 100 capes and a mini model MR that makes real MR noises.

A few days before, the children are educated about the exam by watching the DVD and reading the comic books. On the exam day, they can play with the mini MR to get accustomed to the loud noises. They're allowed to hold the plush toys during the exam and when the exam is completed, they are given a cape as a reward.
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Dr. Robert Min, chairman of Radiology at Weill Cornell Medical Center and president of Weill Cornell Imaging at NewYork-Presbyterian, talked to Siemens' global CEO for MR, Bernd Ohnesorge, at last year's RSNA meeting about the idea for the kit. Ohnesorge took to the idea and partnered with the hospital and Marvel over the last several months to develop it.

"The fear of radiation dose is looming, and more and more health care providers are looking to put pediatrics in non-X-ray emitting technologies," Sarah Moore, vice president of MR for Siemens, told DOTmed News. "MR is really a core technology but the challenge is that MR isn't fast enough so there is this need for sedation."

Sedation comes along with risks including allergic reactions and also involves a prolonged recovery period. Some parents are reluctant to let their children undergo a needed MR exam because they fear sedation.

"I thought for years that if there was any way that we could educate kids and take some of this fear out and in the same way make it fun then we could eliminate sedation for many of these children," said Min. "Our hope is that we can reduce it to the point where it's just done when it's absolutely necessary."

Sedating fewer patients can also reduce hospitals' costs and increase their efficiency, which is more important than ever in the new health care environment.

Last week, Dr. Min tested the kit out on a six-year-old girl and found out that it reduced her anxiety and made her enjoy the exam. "I guarantee you the next time she has to get an MR she is actually going to look forward to it," said Min.

Weill Cornell will be using the kit on their patients immediately but Siemens will officially launch it at this year's RSNA. It's available to any Siemens customer who has one of their MR systems.

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