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MRI Entertainment System

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The technology to diagnose disease at the University of Virginia Children's Hospital is amazing but some tests that must be done can be so frightening for a child, they have to be sedated.

MRI scans are especially difficult but the hospital has a new system to make the process not only less frightening, but for some downright pleasurable. Its called E-Sys or entertainment system.

The noise combined with claustrophobia, and the fact you may something very wrong with your body is enough to frighten anybody.

UVA Medical Center Imaging Manager Charles Stanley stated, "So you can imagine if you come in here and you're already nervous about whatever condition they're looking for they put you in a tunnel, then close the door. They leave you alone and then that starts."

So traumatic that some people simply couldn't be awake for it.

Stanley said, "Before what we'd have to do is we would actually have to sedate a lot of these patients that were anxious."

Brian Burkholder started as an MRI technician 13 years ago, and knows the stress these scans can induce.

Burkholder said, "You're being in a tunnel, a dark tunnel, you're away from your family member you're just kind of in there by yourself and some of the tests are pretty long and you have to hold still."

It is a scary experience for any child until now. Enter the entertainment system, or E-Sys. What looks like nothing more than a big screen TV designed to turn scary into secure.

Burkholder stated, "With the video system, what it does, we can play just about anything we can play and DVD."

"So for a head exam in particular that's one thing that can in addition to being in that small tunnel, this makes it an even smaller space because you have something around your face and that's very frightening for some people to being with as also. The mirror's set up so that they can see the mirror behind them and what we have here in a head exam, the patient's head is in what's an imaging coil."

The mirror is the key. Brian moves the TV screen behind the machine, gives the patient headphones, and voila.

Burkholder said, "A frightened child came in here just all tears and all crying as soon as I started that movie, his eyes just kind of glazed over and he got lost in it and we went on no problems."

Stanley said, "Parents were absolutely thrilled, physicians were thrilled, turn around time was greatly decreased and absolutely what all of us would consider to be a success."

So much so, UVA is having another E-Sys installed so patients can tune out the fright and tune in a simple movie.