Claustrophobia during magnetic resonance imaging: Cohort study in over 55,000 patients


  • Results were presented in part as an abstract at the RSNA 2007 meeting (no. 22-09SSC).



To evaluate whether MR scanners with acoustic noise reduction and a short magnetic bore reduce the rate of claustrophobic reactions.

Materials and Methods

We performed a cohort study in an outpatient setting, enrolling a total of 55,734 consecutive patients referred for MRI of any part of the body based on a clinical indication. Imaging was performed using a conventional MR scanner (42,998 patients) and a recently developed MR scanner (12,736 patients) with 97% acoustic noise reduction and a short bore. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to adjust for the nonrandomized design.


In addition to those undergoing head-first examinations, female and middle-aged patients were significantly more likely to develop claustrophobia in the logistic regression analysis (P < 0.001). The rate of claustrophobic reactions was significantly lower with the recent MR scanner (0.7%; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.6–0.9%) than with the conventional scanner (2.1%; 95% CI, 2.0–2.3%; P < 0.001) with an adjusted odds ratio (OR) of 3.1 (95% CI, 2.5–3.9) and a number needed to treat of 72 (95% CI, 63–85).


The incidence of claustrophobia may be reduced by a factor of 3 when recently-developed MR scanners are used. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2007;26:1322–1327. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.