Many patients express anxiety over the thought of having an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) examination. When their physician recommends the examination, they say “No way! I can’t get into that MRI TUBE!” If you are one of these people, you are definitely not alone. This article is intended to help you cope with this feeling. Common medications prescribed for anxiety are typically inadequate for MRI examinations and could leave you unprepared to have the exam.
At Wake Radiology, we DO NOT recommend patients take any oral sedation medications prior to their MRI. At Wake Radiology, we offer IV (intravenous) valium to any patient who has anxiety related to the MRI exam. Unlike most all other regional MRI providers, we have physician radiologists on site to monitor you before and after the administration of the valium to make sure that you are comfortable. If a patient needs a little more valium during the exam – no problem! The doctor is right there to provide the additional medication through your IV all without slowing the study down. We believe that ALL patients can have a comfortable and successful exam with little, if any, stress.
What does this extra sedation service cost? Nothing. It is complimentary.
Does it have to be given IV (intravenously)? Yes. This is the most effective method of sedation. It allows the physician to control the dose effect and ensure patient safety.
What if I have a bad reaction to the valium? Though these reactions are rare, this is exactly why we have a physician onsite. They are all trained in how to control adverse reactions and to handle any emergency that might occur. We also have medications that allow us to rapidly reverse the effects of valium and make sure that the administering physician has all of the tools necessary to ensure patient safety.
How much valium is given? As much as is needed within safety guidelines.
Am I monitored during the examination for sedation complications? At Wake Radiology, yes. You’re observed by the physician and staff during every minute of your stay with us.
What about my other medications? We recommend that you take those as you normally would. Having a physician onsite allows us to consider all of your medications when we administer the complimentary IV valium sedation.
Will you put me to sleep completely? Not intentionally. Many of our examinations require your cooperation and ability to follow commands to hold your breath to produce the images required to make a diagnosis. For those examinations, we will not allow you to fall asleep. However, there are many other types of MRI examinations that do not require you to follow commands. For those examinations, our efforts to make our patients comfortable may cause them to nap through their exam. Rest assured that even if you do nap briefly, we will be monitoring you very closely to insure your safety.
Will I be able to drive home? No. You will need someone to drive you home. Even though the valium will feel like it is “out of your system” when your exam is over, you will still be under its affects and your ability to drive will be impaired. The effects of the valium last for several hours which is why we recommend that you go home and relax. We do not recommend that you drive, use sharp objects, power tools, or return to work.
What if I drive myself there and find that I am unexpectedly claustrophobic and need IV valium? We will assist you in finding a family member or friend who can come to pick you up and help you get home. You must have someone who can insure your safe return to your home and observe you for several hours while the valium leaves your system.
What if I arrive, have unexpected claustrophobia, and can’t find anyone to take me home? We will be happy to reschedule your appointment for no additional charge for a date and time when you can arrange for someone to be with you. Wake Radiology is committed to providing ALL patients with a safe environment for a successful and stress-free MRI experience. We do all we can to make that you have a pleasant experience. We want you to be happy and extremely satisfied with our service and commitment to you.