Clinical Neuroscience

Anxiety management and functional magnetic resonance imaging - should it be a priority?

VANDULEK Csaba, DONKÓ Tamás, ILLÉS Anikó, EMRI Miklós, OPPOSITS Gábor, REPA Imre, KOVÁCS Árpád

SEPTEMBER 30, 2015

Clinical Neuroscience - 2015;68(09-10)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.18071/isz.68.0318

Background and purpose - Studies have shown that a high proportion of patients undergoing MRI examinations experience anxiety and distress which may compromise image quality and successful data acquisition. Research on fMRI related anxiety is limited as to date, therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess the changes in anxiety as well as to examine its interactions with the implementation of a dedicated patient preparation phase prior to the examination. Methods - An fMRI examination consisting of six paradigms was performed on nine female and nine male healthy volunteers. Prior to the examination, the volunteers were subject to an extensive patient preparation phase including the professional support of a psychologist. The volunteers were subject to the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) pre and post fMRI. Blood pressure and heart rate were also measured pre and post fMRI examination. Results - A high level of trait and state anxiety was observed (STAI-T: 41.67±8.96; STAI-S: 34.78±9.79) prior to the examination. The level of state anxiety decreased significantly following the examination (STAI-S: 28.83±4.99, p<0.01). Correlation between the volunteers level of anxiety prior to the fMRI scan and the volume of the activation areas was observed in the finger-tapping (r=0.656; 0.561) and word generation (r=0.471) paradigms. Conclusion - The results of this study support the contribution of a supportive patient preparation phase inclusive of professional guidance to help reduce the volunteers’ level of distress and anxiety. These results encourage the study to be extended to clinical patients.

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