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Patients' experiences in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and their experiences of breath holding techniques




To describe patients' experiences of magnetic resonance examination of the liver and their experiences of two breath-hold techniques.


Traditionally, patients are instructed by the radiographer to hold their breath during the examination. Alternatively, the patient can initiate the breath hold and start the image acquisition. Studies have revealed that magnetic resonance examinations can be experienced as challenging.


Descriptive qualitative.


Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 28 patients and analysed using qualitative content analysis. The data collection was carried out from autumn 2010 to spring 2011.


The patients' main experience was that they felt loss of control. This was described in terms of feeling trapped, being lost in time and lost as a result of uncertainty. They had many questions in their mind that they did not ask. Although their statements often revealed no clear preference regarding the techniques, almost half of the patients seemed to prefer self-initiated breath hold, as it was easier and less stressful. Those who preferred the radiographer-directed technique felt more confident leaving the responsibility to the radiographer. In general, the patients understood the importance of achieving the best quality images possible.


Magnetic resonance examination can be experienced as being in loss of control. Nevertheless, not all patients wished to actively participate in magnetic resonance examination. Some preferred to hand over the responsibility to the radiographer. These results can form a base for radiographers' reflections of how to individualize and optimize the nursing care of patients undergoing magnetic resonance examinations.