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Sedation versus general anaesthesia for MRI scanning in children
  1. CAROLINE DAVIS, Consultant Paediatric Anaesthetist
  1. Guy's & St Thomas's Hospital NHS Trust
  2. London SE1 9RT, UK
    1. REZA RAZAVI, Research Fellow in Paediatric Cardiology
    1. Guy's & St Thomas's Hospital NHS Trust
    2. London SE1 9RT, UK
      1. E J BAKER, Consultant Paediatric Cardiologist
      1. Guy's & St Thomas's Hospital NHS Trust
      2. London SE1 9RT, UK

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        Editor,—We read with interest the article concerning the sedation of children for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI),1 and would like to support Dr Bray's view that general anaesthesia is a safer and more reliable method of managing children undergoing this procedure.

        In our trust we have a large number of children undergoing MRI scanning, the great majority of whom have general anaesthesia. We have three or four planned half day general anaesthesia sessions per week, all covered by a consultant paediatric anaesthetist. We do still occasionally sedate patients when they require a short scan; because of the urgency it is not possible to schedule them into a fixed general anaesthesia session.

        Previously, we relied mainly on sedation techniques, but found a large failure rate due to restless patients moving during the scan. In fact, since general anaesthesia has superseded sedation, the quality of scan has markedly improved and scan times have been reduced.

        For patients undergoing cardiac MRI scans, periods of breath holding are required during several scan sequences; this would be impossible to achieve unless the patient was paralysed and ventilated.

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