A new study has highlighted the increasing rates of claustrophobia in Britain and the impact it’s having on the population’s healthcare.
Claustrophobia is preventing people from receiving vital medical scans, with a quarter of people saying that they would prefer to leave a medical condition untreated due to fears of claustrophobic MRI scans or other medical tests. However, alternatives are becoming more readily available, like the open MRI scanner.
The survey found that nearly one-third of Brits have suffered from claustrophobia at some point in their lives.
The ‘tunnel’ MRI scanner was one of the top nightmare scenario for the participants surveyed, with 45 per cent saying that was their worst nightmare. Other fears included tiny rooms with no windows and crowded places.
Claustrophobia and MRI statistics
In the survey,
- 57 per cent of those who had experienced a closed MRI scan said that it made them feel very nervous.
- 10 per cent required sedation to successfully complete a traditional MRI scan.
- 13 per cent could not make it through their appointment in a standard MRI.
- 25 per cent said that they’d rather leave a medical condition undiagnosed than undergo frightening tests like enclosed MRI scans.
It also found that claustrophobic feelings impact women more than men. 36 per cent of women have felt claustrophobic and 27 per cent of man have, according to the results.
Around a quarter of people surveyed blamed being trapped in a small space during childhood for the cause of their claustrophobia.
The most common symptom of claustrophobia is a general feeling of panic, and it’s also common to experience shortness of breath, hyperventilation, sweating or chills.
The primary method for avoiding claustrophobic situations was to avoid situations that might trigger an attack.
Alternative MRI options
Technology has enabled new formats of MRI to emerge which can empower claustrophobic patients to successfully receive the vital medical information they need.
Open MRI scanners do not have an enclosed tube, and patients can see out of the scanner and around them to ease the feelings of anxiety. It’s twice the width of a traditional enclosed scanner, and much quieter.
A family member or friend can also be next to patients throughout the entire scan, holding their hand and helping them remain calm.
Newcastle Clinic has the only open MRI in the North of England and Scotland, and can accept referrals for patients from throughout the UK. We accept NHS referrals for patients who are claustrophobic or obese, as well as self-funding patients or those with private health insurance.