MRI Acoustic Noise-modulated Computer Animations for Patient Distraction and Entertainment With Application in Pediatric Psychiatric Patients

R. E. Gabr
G. B. Zunta-Soares
J. C. Soares
P. A. Narayana


PURPOSE: To reduce patient anxiety caused by the MRI scanner acoustic noise. MATERIAL AND METHODS: We developed a simple and low-cost system for patient distraction using visual computer animations that were synchronized to the MRI scanner's acoustic noise during the MRI exam. The system was implemented on a 3T MRI system and tested in 28 pediatric patients with bipolar disorder. The patients were randomized to receive noise-synchronized animations in the form of abstract animations in addition to music (n = 13, F/M = 6/7, age = 10.9 ± 2.5 years) or, as a control, receive only music (n = 15, F/M = 7/8, age = 11.6 ± 2.3 years). After completion of the scans, all subjects answered a questionnaire about their scan experience and the perceived scan duration. RESULTS: The scan duration with multisensory input (animations and music) was perceived to be ~15% shorter than in the control group (43 min vs. 50 min, P < 0.05). However, the overall scan experience was scored less favorably (3.9 vs. 4.6 in the control group, P < 0.04). CONCLUSIONS: This simple system provided patient distraction and entertainment leading to perceived shorter scan times, but the provided visualization with abstract animations was not favored by this patient cohort.