Body temperature changes in children undergoing magnetic resonance imaging under general anaesthesia


Ganapathi AITHAL 1, Ah Chew BANGSU 1, Mohammad Kassim MD YASSIN 1, Mastinah MD TALI 2

1 Department of Anaesthesiology and 2 Department of Radiology, Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital, Brunei Darussalam



Introduction: Children undergoing Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) under general anaesthesia are at risk of developing hypothermia since warming equipment cannot be used due to the strong magnetic field generated by the scanner. This study was carried out to investigate the range of temperature changes occurring in children undergoing MRI under general anaesthesia. Material and methods: From March 2013 to November 2014, 43 children aged between one and eight years old undergoing MRI Scan under general anaesthesia were recruited to the study. Axillary temperature was recorded at induction of anaesthesia and at the end of the Scan in induction area using electronic thermometer. Paired student t test was used to analyse the temperature changes. Results: The mean temperature change was -0.530C (SD 0.7), which was statistically significant (p<0.001), with highest temperature loss of 1.60C and highest temperature gain of 1.60C.  Of the 43 children, 36 (83.7%) had temperature below 360C at recovery. Thirteen (30%) patients were hypothermic (<350C) in recovery room and none had hyperthermia (>380C). Majority of the children (n=34, 79%) had body temperature lost during MRI with mean loss of -0.79 0C (SD 0.46) and seven (16%) gained body temperature with a mean gain of 0.57 0C (SD 0.61). Two (5%) gained >10C and two (5%) maintained their initial temperature. There was no complications observed in any of the children related to temperature changes. Conclusion: Body temperature balance is very unpredictable in children during MRI Scan under general anaesthesia, with the majority losing body heat while few gained. It is necessary to take maximum precaution to prevent heat loss and monitor body temperature during MRI scan in children under general anaesthesia.


Key words: Resonance Imaging, body temperature, paediatric patients, general anaesthesia


Correspondence author: Ganapathi AITHAL, Department of Anaesthesiology, RIPAS Hospital, Bandar Seri Begawan Ba 1710, Brunei Darussalam. Tel: +673 2242424, E mail:


Brunei Int Med J. 2016; 12 (5): 158-163