MRI is becoming an indispensable diagnostic tool. The need for prolonged motion-free periods has substantially increased the need for deep sedation or anesthesia in a challenging environment. This review summarises recent literature with respect to pharmacological sedative strategies, nonpharmacological alternative approaches, airway management and safety issues in the ambulatory setting.


Most literature researches the pediatric patient population. The American Society of Pediatrics published guidelines for monitoring and management of pediatric patients during sedation for diagnostic procedures. Dexmedetomidine is the most researched agent for sedation. It remains uncertain what the clinical implications are of the potential neurotoxicity of repeat sedation or anesthesia in young children. Airway strategies highlight the use of end-tidal carbon dioxide monitoring. Technical imaging advancement and nonpharmacological sedation alternatives allow for shorter procedures with a lower need for sedation.


The anesthetic management of ambulatory patients in the MRI environment has its specific challenges and safety issues. However, the implementation of safety guidelines, new pharmacological and alternative nonpharmacological sedation strategies offer interesting perspectives to tackle these challenges.

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