Riverina men needed for study on MRI distress

26 APRIL 2021

Riverina men needed for study on MRI distress

Riverina men who have experienced distress during a MRI scan are invited to take part in a Charles Sturt PhD study.

  • Men in the Riverina who have experienced distress during an MRI invited to participate in PhD study  

A Charles Sturt University PhD candidate is inviting men living in the Riverina who have experienced distress during a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to take part in a study.

Mr Johnathan Hewis (pictured above), who is also a Senior Lecturer in Medical Imaging in the Charles Sturt School of Dentistry and Health Sciences, is conducting the study to help healthcare professionals increase their understanding of MRI-related distress and better support the patients who experience this.

He initially began his study in the Mid North Coast region of NSW and after a strong response from females participants, he is hoping to recruit more men to join the study by expanding it to include the Riverina.

“For a lot of people, MRI scans are a mundane diagnostic procedure, but for some the process is very challenging,” Mr Hewis said.

“It can be dehumanising and physically, socially and emotionally isolating.

“Often patients have to remain still in a painful or uncomfortable position, and some are in terror due to the proximity of the scanner.”

Mr Hewis said most research indicates claustrophobia is the classic cause of distress within MRI, but what he and several small studies have found is the cause of distress is very varied and multifaceted.

“Several of my participants have no issues with enclosed spaces at all – they are not claustrophobic,” he said.

“The triggers for distress are not just about the MRI scan itself but the wider healthcare journey and the individual combined.

“What I have found so far is distress for my participants is a perceived existential threat that sort of reaches a tipping point where the individual can no longer cope or self soothe and they reach a stage of panic where they perceive imminent danger.

“I have found most participants often suffer in silence and the MRI practitioners may be completely unaware.”

According to Mr Hewis, his preliminary findings reinforce the need for more patient information, communication and support throughout the imaging journey.

“As MRI practitioners, we need to be empathic of the MRI process, provide greater interpersonal support at all stages of the process, and develop a greater understanding of the variety and experience of distress,” he said.

Men living in the Riverina aged over 18 years who have had an MRI scan in the last six months and experienced distress during the scan are invited to take part in the PhD study.

Participants will be asked to take part in a 45-90-minute video interview conducted by Mr Hewis.

After the interview, participants will be asked if they would like to review the research findings and will be posted or emailed the initial written summary. All responses will be treated confidentially.

Further information as well as an information sheet on the study is available online on Charles Sturt’s ThinkSpace website.

Questions about the study can be directed to Mr Hewis via telephone (02) 6582 9346 or email jhewis@csu.edu.au.

The study is being supervised by Associate Professor Rachel Rossiter and Associate Professor Marguerite Bramble from Charles Sturt.

Media Note:

To arrange interviews with Mr Johnathan Hewis, contact Rebecca Akers at Charles Sturt Media on mobile 0456 377 434 or news@csu.edu.au

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