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News release

Community Hospital East’s imaging services make MRI more comfortable for patients

For release: 2/22/2008

Indianapolis, IN - What is the latest multi-media entertainment system doing inside a state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner, a high-tech medical device that helps radiologists obtain a precise and often early diagnosis of disease?

At Community Hospital East, movies, music and children’s cartoons will help patients who might otherwise be afraid of the often intimidating exams to take advantage of one of today’s most valuable diagnostic tools.

“An estimated 20 percent of patients react with fear or claustrophobia to confining, dark and often noisy MRI procedures and cannot be imaged as a result,” said Alan Moorman, chief MRI technologist.  “With the addition of the new CinemaVision virtual reality system, Community Hospital East will bring a relaxing multi-media experience and entertainment inside the MRI while patients are being imaged, helping them to tolerate the exams better.”        

Moorman notes that the difference can be dramatic and that patients who refused MRI scans in the past now have no problem having the procedure.  Committed to delivering the best in diagnostic care, Community Hospital East is one of the first medical facilities in the area to take advantage of the innovative CinemaVision system.

Many people, particularly children, are afraid of MRI exams, which are performed inside long, tubular magnets.  Patients must hold still in this isolated space for up to an hour, while loud knocking sounds emanate from the machine.  Roughly one in five patients requires sedation to reduce anxiety associated with MRI claustrophobia, or they will not be able to take the test at all. 

Community East currently utilizes the open-sided MRI for those patients that are claustrophobic. The new CinemaVision will provide an additional option for those fearing the MRI procedure.  Both options provide a more relaxing experience for the patient.

CinemaVision overcomes a range of significant technological challenges to perform within the MRI environment.  Conventional audiovisual systems cannot function within the MRI’s high magnetic fields, and at the same time their metal components interfere with MRI images.

However, CinemaVision’s innovative design is able to deliver entertainment from CDs and videos to patients during the scan through a sleek, comfortable, lightweight headset.  It shows the equivalent of a 62-inch video display viewed from 5 ½ feet, enveloping the patient in a complete virtual reality.

“The impact has been particularly important for children, who now can often tolerate the exam without sedation when relaxed by cartoons or other entertainment,” said Kathy Steffen, medical imaging director. 

Steffen also points out that the imaging technique is widely used to diagnose sports-related injuries, especially those to the joints and skeletal structure.  Because it does not involve x-ray exposure, MRI is often the preferred diagnostic method for examination of the male and female reproductive systems.

“This technology helps us deliver the best quality of care we can to patients,” said Steffen.  “Even for those who are not fearful of the MRI, it often helps streamline the process and make it more pleasant, while we deliver a high quality diagnosis.”

CommunityHospital East is a comprehensive acute care facility with 257 staffed beds located at 1500 N. Ritter Ave. Community Hospital East has been named among the nation’s top 100 cardiovascular hospitals in a national, independent study.  Ranked among the top 20 integrated health care networks in the nation, Community Health Network has more than 70 sites of care throughout central Indiana. This includes Community Hospitals East, North and South in Indianapolis and Community Hospital Anderson; The Indiana Heart Hospital, a dedicated heart hospital; Indiana Surgery Centers; Community Physicians of Indiana; Community Home Health Services; MedCheck urgent care centers; occupational health services; nursing homes; and other health care facilities. Community Health Network is committed to getting you well and back to your life. For more information about Community Health Network or to find a physician, call 800-777-7775 or visit




Lynda de Widt
Media Relations
Community Health Network

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