Publications by authors named "Leah A Kehoe"

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Easing anxiety in preparation for pediatric magnetic resonance imaging: a pilot study using animal-assisted therapy.

Pediatr Radiol 2019 07 27;49(8):1000-1009. Epub 2019 Apr 27.

Department of Diagnostic Imaging, The Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Ave., Toronto, ON, M5G 1X8, Canada.

Background: Children undergoing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can experience negative emotions both before and during their scan, causing them to move and often necessitating the use of procedural sedation. Several strategies to improve patient compliance have been attempted.

Objective: This study was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of a non-pharmacological intervention to reduce anxiety in pediatric patients preparing for MRI using animal-assisted therapy.

Materials And Methods: An animal intervention pilot study was performed in patients who agreed in advance to interact with a dog. Patients and caregivers filled out questionnaires, including questions designed to capture changes in patient emotion before and after the intervention. MRI diagnostic quality was compared to age- and gender-matched control groups with and without general anesthesia.

Results: The intervention in 21 patients comparing pre- and post-scan surveys demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in patient anxiety levels (P<0.01). Diagnostic MRI scans were achieved in 19/21 (90%), with no significant difference in exam quality or times compared against control groups. The majority of caregivers and staff members agreed strongly that patients benefited from the therapy dog's presence.

Conclusion: The use of animal-assisted therapy in a pilot group in our MRI division resulted in a beneficial effect on patients' emotional status, easing anxiety in preparation for scheduled scans, without impacting MRI quality or duration. Further randomized studies will be needed to demonstrate its significance in reducing sedation rates in children undergoing MRI.
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July 2019