Is it safe for patients with pacemakers to have MRI? Although earlier it used to be said that patients with pacemakers should not have MRI, but apparently some recent data says it is not that dangerous (http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/829046). Thanks for your insight.
Some new pacemakers are MRI compatible (). Of those, some have an exclusion zone where the body may not be scanned. I wouldn't be surprised if, in a few years, all new pacemakers and ICDs will be MRI compatible. Older pacemakers still won't be, however. The following quote from , lists problems MRI fields may cause with pacemakers:
- Heating at the lead tip and at the lead tissue interface
- Force and torque on devices
- Image distortion
- Alteration of programming with potential damage to the pacemaker circuitry
- Rapid atrial pacing
- Pacing at multiples of the radiofrequency pulse and associated rapid ventricular pacing
- Reed switch malfunction
- Asynchronous pacing
- Inhibition of pacing output
- Induction of ventricular fibrillation
- Electrical reset
- Component damage
To be certified as MRI compatible by the FDA, TÜV, etc., each pacemaker system (device and leads) must be tested for MRI compatibility by the manufacturer.
In the interest of full disclosure, I work for one of the one of the device manufacturers listed in the paper.