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A systematic review of person-centred adjustments to facilitate magnetic resonance imaging for autistic patients without the use of sedation or anaesthesia

Stogiannos, N., Carlier, S., Harvey-Lloyd, J. M. , Brammer, A., Nugent, B., Cleaver, K., McNulty, J. P., dos Reis, C. S. & Malamateniou, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-2352-8575 (2022). A systematic review of person-centred adjustments to facilitate magnetic resonance imaging for autistic patients without the use of sedation or anaesthesia. Autism, 26(4), pp. 782-797. doi: 10.1177/13623613211065542


Magnetic resonance imaging is widely used for different diagnostic examinations involving autistic patients. The noisy, narrow, isolating magnetic resonance imaging environment and long scan times may not be suitable for autistic individuals, given their communication challenges, sensory sensitivities and often heightened anxiety. This systematic review aims to reveal any reasonable and feasible radiography-based adjustments to facilitate magnetic resonance imaging scanning without the use of sedation or general anaesthesia. Nine electronic databases were systematically searched. Out of 4442 articles screened, 53 were deemed directly relevant; when assessed against eligibility criteria, only 21 were finally included in this systematic review. Customising communication was found to be a key adjustment, as well as scan-based optimisation and environmental adaptations. The importance of distraction techniques and use of technology for familiarisation with the processes was also highlighted. The results of this study can inform recommendations to improve magnetic resonance imaging practice and patient experience, without the use of sedation or anaesthesia, where feasible. They can also inform the basis of dedicated training for magnetic resonance imaging radiographers.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been published in Autism by SAGE. It is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
Publisher Keywords: adjustment, autism, MRI, person-centred, systematic review
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Midwifery & Radiography
SWORD Depositor:
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