Single Breath-Hold Physiotherapy Technique : Effective tool for T2* magnetic resonance imaging in young patients with thalassaemia major

Surekha T. Mevada, Najma Al-Mahruqi, Ismail El-Beshlawi, Mohamed El-Shinawy, Mathew Zachariah, Abdul H. Al-Rawas, Shahina Daar, Yasser Wali


Magnetic resonance imaging using T2* (MRI T2*) is a highly sensitive and non-invasive technique for the detection of tissue iron load. Although the single breath-hold multi-echo T2* technique has been available at the Sultan Qaboos University Hospital (SQUH), Muscat, Oman, since 2006, it could not be performed on younger patients due to their inability to hold their breath after expiration. This study was carried out between May 2007 and May 2015 and assessed 50 SQUH thalassaemic patients aged 7‒17 years old. Seven of these patients underwent baseline and one-year follow-up MRI T2* scans before receiving physiotherapy training. Subsequently, all patients were trained by a physiotherapist to hold their breath for approximately 15‒20 seconds at the end of expiration before undergoing baseline and one-year follow-up MRI T2* scans. Failure rates for the pre- and post-training groups were 6.0% and 42.8%, respectively. These results indicate that the training of thalassaemic patients in breath-hold techniques is beneficial and increases rates of compliance for MRI T2* scans.


Children; Iron Overload; Breath Holding; Physiotherapy; Thalassemia Major; Oman.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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