There are about 1.5 million people in the United States who have pacemakers, which are used to help regulate a patient’s heart rate. Previously, MRI procedures for patients with implanted pacemakers were not recommended because of the serious complications that could occur. Traditional pacemakers can misinterpret MRI-generated electrical noise and withhold pacing therapy or deliver unnecessary pacing therapy. In addition, the MRI’s magnetic field can damage system components and cause lead or pacemaker dislodgement.
“The newly approved MRI-safe pacemaker system is an important technological development that has the potential to significantly improve the quality of life of our patients,” said Thomas Wannenburg, M.D., associate professor of Cardiology and the doctor who performed the surgery. “We are excited to be able to offer this option at Wake Forest Baptist.”
Patients who are in need of a pacemaker, also often need an MRI at some point during their care. MRI is widely preferred by physicians because it provides a level of detail and clarity not offered by other soft tissue imaging modalities. The clinical information that a MRI scan provides is important in providing therapies for a variety of medical conditions. About 40 million MRI scans are performed annually in the United States and Wake Forest Baptist performed approximately 1,148 MRI scans on cardiology patients this past year.
The Revo™ MRI SureScan® pacing system was developed by Medtronic and includes hardware modifications to the device and leads that are designed to reduce or eliminate several hazards produced by the MRI environment.