Aim: MRI is gaining in importance as an imaging tool for brain development and injury in preterm infants. The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of performing MRI in non-sedated preterm-born infants at term-equivalent age (TEA).
Methods: A total of 89 infants born before 32 gestational weeks were recruited. Infants were scanned without sedation. Duration of the entire examination including scan repetition and interruptions was registered.
Results: Of the 89 infants, 56 (63%) underwent MRI at TEA. Out-patients required a significantly shorter total MR examination time than did in-patients (32 ± 12 vs. 54 ± 10 min, p < 0.01). Of the 56 infants, 39 (69.6%) were examined without interruption. Only four (7.2%) of the 56 scans were unusable because of motion artefacts. Mean duration of all scans was 36 ± 14 min. In cases with no interruptions, sessions were completed within 32 ± 12 min; MR sessions with interruption lasted 45 ± 13 min.
Conclusion: A well-trained team is indispensable in obtaining best-quality images as a prerequisite for good counselling. From our experience, we worked out a guideline to ensure that scans in stable non-sedated preterm-born infants at TEA run smoothly and provide high-quality images.