I.V. (intravenous) sedation can be extremely useful and sometimes necessary for scanning pediatric and adult patients who have difficulty lying still during a scan. When an MRI is necessary, I.V. sedation can ensure the fastest exam time and the highest quality images by eliminating motion. Many children and some adults with severe claustrophobia, anxiety or pain will benefit greatly from I.V. sedation.
I.V. sedation is administered by a board certified anesthesiologist. Patients are monitored before, during and after the MRI exam by both the anesthesiologist and a nurse. Our facilities are accredited by the AAAASF (American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgical Facilities), complying with the highest standard of patient safety and care.
How does I.V. sedation work?
The anesthesiologist will evaluate each patient’s individual characteristics and needs to determine the type and dose of sedation required. Factors such as age, weight, anxiety level, pain level and current medications will all be considered when determining the right type of sedation to use for your MRI.
Once the appropriate medication and dose are established, a thin plastic intravenous line is placed in the arm or hand of the patient and the sedation is administered. Once the patient is appropriately sedated, the MRI will be performed.
Are there any risks?
There are no known risks from an MRI scan and no lasting side effects from I.V. sedation. You can be assured that when I.V. sedation is used, both the anesthesiologist and nurse monitor your vital signs during the entire procedure to ensure your safety. Be sure to inform us of any medications you are taking.
How do I prepare?
You must obtain a prescription form from your doctor that states, "MRI with I.V. sedation."
You must not eat or drink for 8 hours prior to your exam time. However, you may take your medication with a few sips of water.
Depending on your medical history, a medical clearance may be needed. Before your appointment, you will be contacted by our anesthesiology team to determine if clearance is necessary.
Someone must accompany you to the exam, drive you home and stay with you for the remainder of the day. You MAY NOT drive or operate heavy machinery for the remainder of the day.
Notify our staff if you have any metal, medical, or mechanical devices in your body. This exam may NOT be performed if you have a cardiac pacemaker, defibrillator, cerebral aneurysm clips or cochlear/internal hearing implants. You may be eligible under certain conditions if you have an MRI-conditional pacemaker/defibrillator. Please call 631-444-5544, extension 4340 to verify if your device is MRI compatible.
After you arrive
Notify our staff if you have any metal or medical/mechanical devices in your body. This exam may NOT be performed if you have a cardiac pacemaker, defibrillator, cerebral aneurysm clips or a metallic hearing implant. You must remove all jewelry and any other metallic objects such as hearing aids, jeans with metal zippers, body piercings and removable dental work. Wearing a sweat suit with no metal may prevent you from having to change into a gown.
Additional prep for MRI with I.V. contrast
If you have impaired kidney function, are diabetic or are 60 years of age or older, we will perform an i-STAT creatinine level at the time of your exam to assess your kidney function. It is important to inform us if you are taking the medication hydroxyurea when making your appointment. Keep hydrated before and after your exam.
Bring with you to your appointment:
You should arrive 1 hour before your scheduled exam time. Please allow 10 to 30 minutes for the MRI itself, and about 20 to 30 minutes afterwards to recover.
What do I do when I arrive?
Present your prescription from your doctor that states, "MRI with I.V. sedation," insurance card and completed forms at the front desk. If any additional forms are required, they will be given to you at this time.
Be sure to inform the receptionist and technologist if you:
Plan to arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment.
What happens during the test?
The anesthesiology team will review your medical history with you.
All metal must be removed before your scan including jewelry, dentures, eyeglasses, belt buckles and any clothing with metal zippers or buttons. If your clothing contains any metal, you will need to change into a gown.
Either the nurse or anesthesiologist will place an intravenous needle/catheter into a vein in your arm or hand. In some cases, you may be given a small amount of medication to help you relax before the scan begins.
The MRI technologist and nurse will bring you into the MRI room and comfortably position you on the scanning table. The anesthesiologist will then administer the sedation medication.
The scanning table you are lying on will be moved into the center of the magnet and the test will begin. The machine never touches you during the scan.
After the scan, you will then be brought to our comfortable recovery area. The nurse will continue to monitor your vital signs.
The nurse will remove your I.V. and discharge instructions will be given to you and the adult who is accompanying you. Generally, patients are awake, alert and ready for discharge within 30 minutes after the MRI scan. There are no lasting side effects from sedation, although some patients may feel drowsy afterwards. You MAY NOT drive or operate heavy machinery for the remainder of the day.
The entire process takes about 1.5 to 2 hours.
What happens after the test?
One of our board certified radiologists interprets your images, compares them to any previous studies and dictates a report which is transcribed, proofread and signed. The report is then faxed and mailed to your referring doctor within one or two days. Your doctor will read the report and review the findings with you.