Laying perfectly still for up to 45 minutes inside a magnetic resonance imaging machine can be difficult, but patients at an eastern Iowa hospital may find the task easier soon. Debbie Person, who runs the MRI lab at St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids, says they’re installing what’s called a CinemaVision system to help distract patients from the procedure.
“There’s a lot of knocking noises associated with an MRI scan and it’s in a type of a tube that the images are taken in,” Person says. “It can be somewhat claustrophobic for patients and it can be scary for children.” CinemaVision includes a special set of goggles and earphones that are worn by the patient while inside the machine.
The goggles enable the patient to watch a DVD they’ve brought from home and there’s even a 3-D option. They can also just plug in an MP3 player and listen to tunes. Person says, “It helps to take their mind away from what’s happening around them with the MRI scan and they can watch video or listen to some music to help them relax just a bit more.”
The MRI uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside the body. Because of that, the goggles and earphones have to be made of very specific ingredients. Person says, “Certain metals cannot be brought into the scanner because it could be attracted to the machine so there has to be a material that’s used that can accommodate the magnetic environment and therefore those types of equipment are a little bit more expensive.”
The system is being installed at St. Luke’s thanks to a gift of nearly $45,000 from Peregrine Charities of Cedar Falls. CinemaVision should be operational at the hospital early in 2012.