October 29, 2014 — If Marvel’s Captain America can lay still during a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam, so can kids. That’s the message of a special comic book designed to ease children’s fears before they undergo a scan, which requires them to lay still in a narrow, loud machine in order for it to produce clear images. The new Marvel Custom Solutions comic book is included in an “MRI Heroes Kit” developed by Siemens Healthcare and Marvel Custom Solutions in collaboration with Weill Cornell Imaging at NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medical College. The kit is designed to empower young patients by educating them about the procedure in a gentle and compelling way.
MRIs are capable of delivering high-quality scans of nearly every region in the body without utilizing potentially harmful ionizing radiation. But for all their benefits, MRI scans can create anxiety for children. The loud, clanging noise of the machines and the long duration of the scan can rattle patients (especially children) to the point where they require sedation. In rare circumstances, sedation can cause medical complications for patients, including allergic and adverse reactions. With a better understanding of the MRI procedure, children hopefully will be more likely to remain still for the lengthy imaging procedure.
The MRI Heroes Kit – which includes 100 copies of the educational comic book, 100 hero-themed capes, 100 Captain America and Iron Man plush toys, an educational DVD and a mini-model¹ of a Siemens MRI scanner – is designed to help diffuse pediatric patients’ anxiety. In the comic book, Captain America’s nagging shoulder pain following a heated battle prompts Iron Man to urge his reluctant partner to obtain an MRI scan. The educational video walks patients through the process of an MRI exam by sharing the experiences of a fictional 10-year-old girl who recently received a scan. Children can play with the mini-model of a Siemens MRI scanner in the waiting room and read the comic book. The plush toy, which patients can hold during the exam, brings the comic book to life. And after the scan, patients can be awarded a hero cape as a reward for their valor. Weill Cornell Imaging at NewYork-Presbyterian will be the first facility to use the kit, which will be made available to Siemens customers who purchase its MRI systems.
“MRI remains one of the most powerful imaging tools we as clinicians have, but it can be particularly challenging to perform scans on children, who can be scared and have deep anxiety about the procedure,” said Robert J. Min, M.D., chairman of radiology at Weill Cornell Medical College, radiologist-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, and president of Weill Cornell Imaging at NewYork-Presbyterian. “The MRI Heroes Kit provides children and their parents with the tools and information they need to be more comfortable with an MRI exam. By helping them understand what an MRI is, I am convinced we can make a difference.”
¹ Works in Progress. The product is under development and is not commercially available. MR scanning has not been established as safe for imaging fetuses and infants under two years of age. The responsible physician must evaluate the benefit of the MRI examination in comparison to other imaging procedures.
For more information: www.usa.siemens.com/mriamahero