Do you have to be sober to perform an MRI scan?


In magnetic resonance imaging examinations, one does not have to appear generally sober at the examination date.

Only with special MRI examinations, eg the representation of the bile ducts (MRCP) or the gastrointestinal tract (MDP, Sellink), an absolute fasting is necessary, so that a good pictorial representation can be made possible. In that case, from 22 o'clock the day before, nothing more can be eaten and drunk.

In all other cases: only the patients who are likely to receive a contrast agent need to be examined for the purpose of an examination.

Sober means that about 4 hours before the examination no more food or liquids should be taken. A small breakfast in the morning is not a problem as long as the 4-hour distance is respected.

In most cases, taking medication in the period before the examination should continue as usual, although exceptions may occur in certain special MRI images.

MRI with contrast agent

If the administration of contrast agents is planned or highly probable for the MRI scan, the patient should not eat or drink 4 hours before the examination.

The reason for this is that there is a risk of aspiration (vomit enters the lungs) in case of intolerance to the administered contrast agent. In addition to nausea and vomiting it can also lead to allergic reactions. If the patient is fasting, there is no content in the stomach that can be vomited. Since the patient lies flat on his back in the MRI tube during the examination, potential vomiting always carries the risk that acidic gastric contents may enter the lungs where it can potentially cause damage. Soberness in the administration of contrast media is therefore a mere precautionary measure.

Water / coffee in front of MRT

Whether water or coffee is allowed to be drunk before an MRI scan generally depends on the type of examination. For most MRI examinations, it is not necessary to arrive soberly on appointment, so drinking coffee and water is also allowed.

In the case of examinations where you have to appear sober, you must not eat or drink anything in the pre-fasting period, ie no water. This is the case with planned contrast agent administration (about 4 hours fasting) or eg the examination of the gastrointestinal tract, the biliary tract or the heart (each sober from 22 o'clock the previous day).

Before examinations of the gastric and intestinal mucous membranes as well as the coronary arteries and stress recordings should be dispensed with coffee, because the caffeine contained may distort the results. Among other things, it stimulates the production of stomach acid.

Smoking before MRT

Smoking before an MRI scan is not generally prohibited, only for specific examinations or questions is smoking "prohibited" prior to imaging as it may affect the quality of the images.

These include, among other things, images of the gastrointestinal tract (eg small intestine representation according to Sellink), since smoking before the study leads to increased production of stomach acid, which can sometimes lead to the fact that the image quality and the examination of the gastric and intestinal mucosa is difficult,

Also in MRI images of the heart, must or should be waived smoking before, especially in MRI examinations, in which the heart is intentionally placed under stress (stress MRI). Smoking, as well as the consumption of coffee, tea, chocolate or liquorice may lead to falsification of the investigation.

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