Information for Patients Who Experience Claustrophobia
Claustrophobia is defined as a fear of enclosed spaces.
To most people this translates to a feeling of anxiety
or panic (from a level of "just a little anxiety"
to severe panic), when in a small or confined area. In
MRI, the enclosed space is the inside of the magnet machine.
Many individuals who suffer from claustrophobia may require
medication to relieve or reduce their anxiety ("sedation")
in order to have the MRI successfully performed.
medication is recommended?
At Advanced Diagnostic Radiology, we recommend Xanax®.
It is a drug used widely for panic attacks. Valium may
also be given. However, it is less successful than Xanax®.
will I get the medication?
If you will require sedation for the MRI, inform your
doctor at the time the appointment is made. Upon your
arrival at Advanced Diagnostic Radiology, your level of
claustrophobia will be assessed prior to your scan. Medication
will be given to you by mouth to adequately sedate you
for the scan.
1 hour prior to your appointment.
someone to drive you home. YOU WILL NOT BE GIVEN SEDATION
IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A DRIVER OR SOMEONE TO PICK YOU UP.
not eat any solid food or drink any milk 3 hours prior
may drink clear liquids up to 2 hours prior to arrival.
Liquids include Jello®, soda and coffee without
caffeine, and juice that you can hold up to the light
and see through. No orange juice.
nothing by mouth for the last 2 hours prior to your
caffeine 3 hours prior to arrival.
NOT SMOKE FOR 3 HOURS prior to arrival. The nicotine
in cigarettes will make you more difficult to sedate.
not take diuretic or asthma medicine 3 hours prior to
you will need a driver.
happens after I receive the sedation?
After you are given the sedation medication, you will
be placed on a stretcher in a quiet area. The lights will
be dimmed. A staff member will check on you periodically
to measure the effect of the medication. It may take 30
to 60 minutes for the medicine to sedate you. If you require
additional medicine, after the initial dose, the MRI staff
will assess your level of need and give you more medicine.
You may or may not go to sleep. However, your level of
anxiety will be greatly reduced. You will be placed on
the MRI table when you feel able to tolerate the scan.
happens after the test?
You will be discharged into the care of your driver. If
you are very sleepy, you will be allowed to remain in
MRI until you feel ready to leave.