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  1. Haney, Barbara RNC-NIC, MSN, CPNP-AC
  2. Reavey, Daphne PhD, RN, NNP-BC
  3. Atchison, Linda BSN, RNC-NIC
  4. Poull, Janice BSN, RNC
  5. Dryer, Lisa RN, CPN
  6. Anderson, Betsi BSN, RN, CPHQ
  7. Sandritter, Tracy PharmD
  8. Pallotto, Eugenia MD, MSCE


Use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the neonatal intensive care unit has been increasing over the past several years because of improved MRI technology and increased clinical awareness of the prognostic and diagnostic information available. Historically, the use of sedation has been the standard for achieving quality imaging without motion artifact, but it exposed the patient to risks associated with sedation medications. In an effort to obtain MRI studies with elimination of risks associated with sedation, a quality improvement project was initiated. Implementing a standardized approach utilizing a vacuum immobilizer has led to successful neonatal MRI completion without the need for sedation in 94% of study attempts. Acceptable or excellent image quality was achieved in more than 97% of attempts. Time away from the neonatal intensive care unit significantly decreased with this approach, with the mean duration of time away decreasing from 60 to 48 minutes (P < .0001). Obtaining MRI studies without sedation can be successfully implemented in a neonatal intensive care unit, nearly eliminating patient risks associated with sedation while improving utilization of hospital resources and maintaining adequate quality imaging.