Advocate Christ Medical Center

Presentation Notes

Poster presented at: AAH Reigniting the Art and Science Conference; November 9, 2022; Virtual.



Patients commonly verbalize anxiety about having magnetic radiation imaging (MRI) scans. Over one quarter (25-37%) of patients having MRI scans have moderate to high anxiety levels (Delic et al., 2021; McIsaac et al., 1998). Anxiety and claustrophobia lead to approximately ten percent of aborted MRI scans annually (Sadigh et al., 2017), about 2 million exams per year, resulting in annual revenue loss of about 1 billion dollars (Davis, 2016).

Local Problem

At Advocate Christ Medical Center (ACMC), approximately 8500 MRI exams are performed in the Outpatient Pavilion (OPP) annually. Using the national average of cancelled cases, we estimated 800 scans/year potentially aborted due to anxiety. At a conference, the radiology manager discovered an evidence-based method for statistically significantly increasing MRI completion rates using MRI-safe aromatherapy patches (Davis, 2016).


Our quality improvement goal was to increase MRI Completion Rates (CR) by providing aromatherapy to patients self-reporting anxiety of 6 or higher on a scale of 0 (no anxiety) to 10 (the most anxiety they have ever experienced).


Baseline MRI CR in September 2021 was 97.0%. MRI CR increased when we started offering aromatherapy (October 98.1%, November 99.6%, December 99.3%). We estimated cost per aborted scan at about $530. Estimated aborted scan costs decreased from $7420 in September to $5300 in October, $1060 in November, and $2120 in December. We reduced costs by over 50%.

Implications for Practice

Using inexpensive aromatherapy patches for anxious patients increases MRI completion rates. Increasing MR CR reduces overall costs and workload for MRI-related healthcare workers. Increasing MRI completion rates also theoretically helps prevent delays in patient care and increases patient satisfaction.


Davis, M.A. (2016) Aromatherapy in MRI: Evaluating the use of elequil aromatabs to reduce aborted scans in patients with anxiety and claustrophobia (report). Beekley Medical.

Delic, D., D. Babic, D. Franjic, and B. Hasanefendic. (2021). Anxiety of patients at magnetic resonance imaging screening. Psychiatria Danubina. 33(4):762-767.

McIsaac, H., Thordarson, D.,Shafran,R., Rachman,S., Poole,G. (1998). Claustrophobia and the magnetic resonance imaging procedure. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 21(3):255-268.

Sadigh,G., Applegate,K., Saindane,A. (2017). Prevalence of unanticipated events associated with MRI exams: A benchmark for MRI quality, safety, and patient experience. Journal of the American College of Radiology, 14(6): 765-772.

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