FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show A Patient Experiencing Claustrophobia During CT Scan?

Kenia Mazariegos | Contributor

An image shared on Facebook allegedly shows a patient experiencing both a panic attack and claustrophobia during a computerized tomography (CT) scan.

Verdict: Misleading 

The radiologist who uploaded the image stated a patient woke up during a CT scan, causing motion blur. The CT scan neither shows a panic attack nor claustrophobia.

Fact Check

The Facebook post displays an image of a heavily distorted x-ray of a patient, with a caption claiming the photographed person experienced a panic attack and claustrophobia during a routine CT scan.

However, the photo does not show a patient experiencing either. A reverse image search traced the image back to Twitter account @MiguelDlaCamara, which belongs to Spanish radiologist Miguel Angel De la Cámara Egea. The image appeared in a thread posted by the account on Jan. 2, 2021, garnering over 1,700 likes and over 400 retweets on Twitter.

The translated Twitter thread elaborates on how the image had been viewed by social media users who subsequently added their own context to it using “the mental processes (cognition) that occur” in someone’s cognitive abilities, such as a “confirmation bias” or religious beliefs. Camara’s concluding tweet explains the image shows a patient waking up during a routine CT scan.

The image is a CT scan. It is the first image of the positioning of the patient to apply the test protocol,” De la Cámara’s translated tweet stated. “That image lasted 3 seconds, but the patient woke up to the movement and raised his head: motion blur.”

The blurred image effect De la Cámara describes appears to be a motion artifact, which is “a patient-based artifact that occurs with voluntary or involuntary patient movement during image acquisition,” according to Radiopaedia.

“I posted a tweet using that image to produce a thread telling how biases in thinking are produced that later lead to Fake News,” De la Cámara told Check Your Fact via LinkedIn, pointing the outlet back to his thread.

Check Your Fact recently debunked an image from January 2022 that claimed to show a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) picture depicting the release of oxytocin in an infant’s brain in response to a mother’s kiss.

Kenia Mazariegos