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Patient experience of whole body diffusion weighted magnetic resonance imaging (WB-MRI) for staging myeloma


WB-MRI provides a fast, highly sensitive assessment of disease burden in myeloma. The 2015 International Myeloma Working Group consensus statement recommends WB-MRI for staging asymptomatic myeloma and for workup of solitary bone plasmacytoma. The technique is noisy, employs whole body surface coils, and takes longer than a standard MRI spine. We assessed patient experience of WB-MRI and identified causes for incomplete examinations.


36 consecutive patients undergoing WB-MRI for myeloma (whole body DWI and Dixon, fast T1w and T2w spine) were included. Patients anonymously completed a ten-question survey about their experience. The reporting radiologist recorded technical details and radiological findings.


WB-MRI was well tolerated in most patients. 89% completed the protocol; kyphosis and claustrophobia were causes of incomplete studies. 85% found the scan ‘not at all unpleasant’ or ‘not too unpleasant’.

96% were satisfied with the quality of information provided to them prior to the examination. 93% had had a previous MRI and 86% were not worried about having WB-MRI. 93% would have a repeat study.

Average scan length was 48 minutes. Two-thirds of patients found this acceptable. 18% of patients cited claustrophobia as the reason for finding the examination too long. 44% of patients had chronic vertebral fractures, but this did not correlate with the level of discomfort experienced. Half of scans were positive for active disease.


Patients report a high level of satisfaction with WB-MRI at our institution. The protocol was completed in almost all patients, and most stated they would have a repeat study.

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Correspondence to S Otero.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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Otero, S., Kaiser, M., Pawlyn, C. et al. Patient experience of whole body diffusion weighted magnetic resonance imaging (WB-MRI) for staging myeloma. Cancer Imaging 15 (Suppl 1), P13 (2015).

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