Display Patient Information Leafelts

Aftercare for people with claustrophobia

Date issued: December 2019

For review: December 2021

Ref: A-234/Imaging/CH/Aftercare: For people with claustrophobia

PDF:  Aftercare for people with claustrophobia [pdf] 173KB


Is it just me?

Firstly, we would like to reassure you that you are not the only person who didn’t manage to complete their MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan. Your reaction is not unusual and there is nothing wrong with you. You have experienced a genuine claustrophobic reaction and you have done well to even attempt the scan.


So what happens next?

We will give your details to one of our Consultant Radiologists. A Radiologist is the doctor who interprets the scans and writes the report. It is this written report that is given to your doctor who asked for the scan.

The Radiologist will review your details and will suggest, often in discussion with your doctor, what to do next. If you managed part of the scan, it may be that we have just enough information to answer the question, and further imaging is not required at this stage.

Other options include:

  • Selecting a different type of imaging test that may provide enough information to help with your care.
  • Attempting the MRI scan again with sedation. There are two options, depending on your clinical symptoms and medical history:
    • An oral anxiolytic (sedation) is a medicine that might be prescribed by the doctor who referred you for the MRI. You would not need to stay in hospital, although you would be asked not to drive after you have taken it. If this option is suggested, you will need to contact the doctor who referred you for the MRI for the prescription, and you will be given a repeat MRI appointment as an outpatient.
    • A stronger oral sedative can be given, but requires you to be admitted to the hospital as a day patient. This requires you to be referred to the hospital by your doctor, and therefore takes longer to organise. You would come in as a ‘daycase’ patient and stay for a number of hours until the clinical team are satisfied that the sedation has worn off. Your MRI appointment would be scheduled at an appropriate time during that day and you would be brought to the MRI department on a hospital trolley.

A further option is to arrange for you to travel elsewhere in the UK to be scanned in an open MRI scanner. This is a weaker scanner, and the pictures are sometimes poorer quality. For these reasons this option isn’t often suggested.


How long will this take?

The referrer who asked for you to have the scan (your GP or the doctor / practitioner in the clinic) will be asked to contact our department to discuss which option to follow.  The actual appointment time you are offered for the follow-up procedure will depend on your clinical history and symptoms, and which option is being pursued.

If you require any further information, or would like to discuss this further, please contact the MRI Department on 01752 432511

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