Whole-body MRI vs. CT for staging lymphoma: Patient experience

Authors: Hugo J.A. Adams, Thomas C. Kwee, Malou A. Vermoolen, Inge Ludwig, Marc B. Bierings, Rutger A.J. Nievelstein

To assess and compare patient experience of whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to that of computed tomography (CT) for staging newly diagnosed lymphoma.

Materials and methods
A total of 36 patients with newly diagnosed lymphoma prospectively underwent whole-body MRI and CT for staging purposes. Patients were asked to fill in a short questionnaire with regard to the burden and experience of the examination on a Likert scale (range 1–4). Wilcoxon signed rank tests were used to determine statistically significant differences in patient (dis)comfort between the two examinations.


Patients reported to be significantly (P = 0.007) less worried before undergoing whole-body MRI compared to CT. Patients also experienced whole-body MRI as significantly (P = 0.010) less unpleasant and felt significantly (P = 0.003) better shortly after the scan. The necessary preparations before CT scanning (i.e. insertion of intravenous line, drinking of contrast fluid), which are not required for whole-body MRI, were reported to be a considerable burden.

In this study in patients with newly diagnosed lymphoma, whole-body MRI was experienced as a more patient-friendly technique than CT.