Researchers at the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Singapore have introduced a checklist to determine if a child needs general anesthesia (GA) before undergoing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The question set can be administered by non-medical staff and only takes a few minutes.

In their study recently published in Clinical Radiology, medical students and research assistants used the checklist questions with over 700 patients whose ages ranged from 3 to 20, and were scheduled for an MRI between September 2016 and June 2017. The average age of the patients was 11.7 years old.

The checklist features five questions that are used to succinctly evaluate the patient’s attitude and mood before the procedure. The questions examine restlessness, attention span, distractibility, and their ability to follow instructions, such as “is the child able to sit on the chair for 10 minutes (without being restless)? And “is the child able to obey commands and instructions during the interview?”

“The child assessment checklist administered by non-clinical staff is useful in assessing GA requirement in children, correlating well with GA requirement in children undergoing MRI, and showing good inter-rater reliability,” wrote the study authors. “The item assessing the child’s ability to obey instructions was found to have the greatest association with not requiring GA during MRI.”