Background: Hypothermia prevention strategies during MRI scanning under general anesthesia in infants may pose a challenge due to the MRI scanner’s technical constraints. Previous studies have demonstrated conflicting results related to increase or decrease in post-scan temperatures in children. We noted occurrences of post-scan hypothermia in anesthetized infants despite the use of routine passive warming techniques. Objective: The aims of our quality improvement project were (a) to identify variables associated with post-scan hypothermia in infants and (b) to develop and implement processes to reduce occurrence of hypothermia in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) infants undergoing MRI. Materials and methods: One hundred sixty-four infants undergoing MRI scanning were prospectively audited for post-scan body temperatures. A multidisciplinary team identified potential variables associated with post-scan hypothermia and designed preventative strategies: protocol development, risk factor identification, vigilance and use of a vacuum immobilizer. Another audit was performed, specifically focusing on NICU infants. Results: In the initial phase, we found that younger age (P = 0.002), lower weight (P = 0.005), lower pre-scan temperature (P < 0.01), primary anesthetic technique with propofol (P < 0.01), advanced airway devices (P = 0.02) and being in the NICU (P < 0.01) were associated with higher odds for developing post-scan decrease in body temperature. Quality improvement processes decreased the occurrence of hypothermia in NICU infants undergoing MRI scanning from 65% to 18% (95% confidence interval for the difference, 26-70%, P < 0.001). Conclusion: Several variables, including being in the NICU, are associated with a decrease in post-scan temperature in infants undergoing MRI scanning under sedation/general anesthesia. Implementation of strategies to prevent hypothermia in infants may be challenging in the high-risk MRI environment. We were able to minimize this problem in clinical practice by applying quality improvement principles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1187-1198
Number of pages12
JournalPediatric Radiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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