Patients at Royal London now catch a film while having their hospital scan

New scanner with radiographer Jenna Couture (left) holding viewing glasses and Registrar Charlotte R

New scanner with radiographer Jenna Couture (left) holding viewing glasses and Registrar Charlotte Roberts - Credit: Barts NHS Trust

A new device that lets patients watch a movie during treatment could soon make having a hospital scan almost enjoyable.

The £15,000 device at the Royal London in Whitechapel projects films from a wall onto a mirrored pair of glasses worn by the patient inside the scanner, with the sound played through headphones.

Patients who are nervous or claustrophobic while undergoing a scan find watching a film calms their nerves and avoids the need for medication, researchers have found.

“Using general anaesthetic and sedation can carry a risk for patients,” specialist Radiology Registrar Charlotte Roberts explained. “It’s better that we now offer films as a safer alternative to help patients relax, especially for children.”

Six children receive general anaesthetic and eight adults need oral sedation every week at the hospital because of the intense feeling of claustrophobia from lying inside the tunnel-shaped MRI scanner.


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Patients have to lie still during their scan to produce a clear image—but the sense of claustrophobia can make it difficult.

The new device, paid for by Friends of The Royal London charity, shows TV programmes or films chosen from a library in the hospital.

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