Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a noninvasive technique that measures brain activation, has been increasingly used in the past decade, particularly among older adults. Use of fMRI in research with stroke survivors in recent years has substantially contributed to researchers’ understanding of the pathophysiology of stroke sequelae. However, despite the increasing popularity and use of fMRI, little is known about the patient experience of fMRI under research circumstances. The current research brief reports the findings of a pilot study undertaken to understand stroke survivors’ experiences with fMRI under research circumstances. Nine ischemic stroke patients underwent two MRI sessions, each of which lasted 1.5 hours and included several fMRI tasks. Patients were asked about their experiences and to share any advice. All participants reported that they did not feel claustrophobic; in addition, the importance of educating participants about fMRI was a universal theme that emerged. Knowledge of participant experiences may help with enrollment strategies for fMRI studies and improve research outcomes related to the fMRI experience.
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