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In MR: Less acoustic noise, better patient experience

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | November 06, 2020
A new study says reducing acoustic noise makes MR scans more comfortable for patients
Researchers in the department of radiology at the Swiss hospital, Kantonsspital Winterthur suggest that reducing acoustic noise during an MR scan can improve patient comfort by allowing them to hear their headphones better.

“Our study indicates that the effect of acoustic noise reduction in routine clinical MR can be translated into reduced patient discomfort from acoustic noise and improved audibility of music,” wrote the authors in their study. “Acoustic noise reduction thus significantly contributes to increased patient comfort during MR examinations.”

The team created two groups from 200 patients undergoing MR exams for brain, lumbar spine, shoulder and knee. One received standard imaging while the other underwent MR with noise reduction that was facilitated through software implementations. Both groups had the same number of participants, each of whom answered a questionnaire afterward about their experience. Two readers assessed the images to ensure there were no issues in quality, while nonparametric tests and logistic regression models were used for statistical analysis.
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The final study included 174 patients. Those who received noise reduction reported feeling less discomfort from the acoustic noise and said they could hear the music through their headphones better. No significant difference in subjective image quality was found.

“Image quality seems to remain unaffected by the addition of acoustic noise reduction software,” wrote the authors. “We thus recommend adding acoustic noise reduction to MR protocols, as noise reduction is a step toward a more positive MR experience for patients.”

The findings were published in Academic Radiology.

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