Measurements of human tolerance to horizontal rotation within an MRI scanner: Towards gantry-free radiation therapy

Publication Name

Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Oncology


Introduction: Recent advances in image guidance and adaptive radiotherapy could enable gantry-free radiotherapy using patient rotation. Gantry-free radiotherapy could substantially reduce the cost of radiotherapy systems and facilities. MRI guidance complements a gantry-free approach because of its ability to visualise soft tissue deformation during rotation. A potential barrier to gantry-free radiotherapy is patient acceptability, especially when combined with MRI. This study investigates human experiences of horizontal rotation within an MRI scanner. Methods: Ten healthy human participants and nine participants previously treated with radiotherapy were rotated within an MRI scanner. Participants' anxiety and motion sickness was assessed before being rotated in 45-degree increments and paused, representing a multi-field intensity-modulated radiotherapy treatment. An MR image was acquired at each 45-degree angle. Following imaging, anxiety and motion sickness were re-assessed, followed by a comfort questionnaire and exit interview. The significance of the differences in anxiety and motion sickness pre- versus post-imaging was assessed using Wilcoxon signed-rank tests. Content analysis was performed on exit interview transcripts. Results: Eight of ten healthy and eight of nine patient participants completed the imaging session. Mean anxiety scores before and after imaging were 7.9/100 and 11.8/100, respectively (P = 0.26), and mean motion sickness scores were 5.3/100 and 13.7/100, respectively (P = 0.02). Most participants indicated likely acceptance of rotation if MRI were to be used in a hypothetical treatment. Physical discomfort was reported to be the biggest concern. Conclusions: Horizontal rotation within an MRI scanner was acceptable for most (17/19) participants.

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Funding Sponsor

National Health and Medical Research Council



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