Tots given scans during normal night's sleep

Staff at the new Royal Hospital for Children (RHC) have introduced a simple but effective way of giving young children an MRI scan without the trauma of an anaesthetic.

By bringing young children into the hospital at night with their parents or guardian and following the child’s normal bedtime routine, the scan is done when the child is fast asleep.

The child is relaxed and unaware of what is going on and the parents do not have to see their little one being anaesthetised and getting distressed or upset.

The RHC is the first hospital in the UK to introduce this unique way of giving young children an MRI scan.

Kirsten Lanaghan is the hospital’s Lead MRI Radiographer and has been involved in this innovative way of scanning children since it was introduced.

Consultant and nurses monitor a scanning procedure.

First Hospital in UK

Kirsten said: “We are the only children’s hospital in the UK who have introduced this unique way of providing MRI scans to young children and to date 200 children have had their scan this way.

“We advise the parents to bring the child in with whatever pyjamas, teddies, toys, blankets and books the child is familiar with at night.

“We also advise the parents to minimise their child’s sleep during the day so that when they come into the hospital the parents can follow as normal a routine as possible.

“They can read the child a bedtime story, play a game, whatever they do to settle the child and once they are sound asleep we can carry out the scan.

“This really makes a massive difference to the child, the parents and the staff.

“It takes the stress away from the staff member who would have to anaesthetise the child. It also takes away the upset and distress to both the child and their parents.”