Current Content
Volume 45 - Number 6
November/December 2019

Patient Awake While Scanned: Program To Reduce the Need for Anesthesia In Pediatric MRI
Camille Fraser, Sarah Beth Gray, and Jessika Boles

The number of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans used in pediatric health care is on the rise. Due to the developmental, coping, and physiological factors that make completing an MRI difficult for children, pediatric patients often require anesthesia to complete the scan successfully and produce clear images for diagnostic or evaluative purposes. Certified Child Life Specialists (CCLS) support patients throughout radiology procedures by providing developmentally appropriate preparation, procedural support, and an individualized coping plan. To ensure the availability of these supportive services for children undergoing MRI scans and minimize the use of anesthesia, the child life and radiology teams collaborated to create and implement the Patient Awake While Scanned (PAWS) program at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Through developmentally appropriate preparation and procedural support provided by a CCLS, 958 pediatric patients have participated in the PAWS program over the past 6 years, with a 96% rate of successful scan completion without sedation. As a result, this program has minimized health risks associated with anesthesia use in MRI and lowered the overall cost to families and the institution. Therefore, it is essential that health care providers consider the implementation of child life services through formalized programs such as PAWS to promote similar positive outcomes across pediatric settings.