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.

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    Would you please show us the link on the recent data you are telling? As far as I know, patients with pacemaker is strictly contraindicated to have an MRI, unless deemed medically necessary.
    – Jaeger Jay
    Jul 21, 2015 at 8:04
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    <Comments removed> Please do not answer questions in comments. If you have relevant links to provide, compose an answer so that the community can vote to give feedback as appropriate.
    – Susan
    Jul 21, 2015 at 13:50
  • @JaegerJay I have added a reference in my question above.
    – rnso
    Jul 21, 2015 at 16:00

1 Answer 1


Some new pacemakers are MRI compatible ([1]). 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 [1], 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
  • Death

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[1].

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    First, welcome and you are correct. Will you make DOI links preferably, or at least public links, and also include a reference for your two bullet points? For our site it's particularly important to be well referenced.
    – Atl LED
    Sep 25, 2015 at 18:36
  • I'm not sure if I can make a DOI link for that source. It appears that if I access the link from Google first, I can access it later. After some time, however, clicking on the link just brings me to Medscape's login page. I've downloaded a PDF of the article from another source (Wiley Periodicals), but I'm not sure if I'm allowed to distribute it. The title of the article is Evaluating MRI-Compatible Pacemakers: Patient Data Now Paves the Way to Widespread Clinical Application?. I'm going to look around for other papers I can link to.
    – watkipet
    Sep 28, 2015 at 15:45
  • Check the pubmed and do you notice the doi part of your edit (doi: 10.1111/pace.12061) you can in fact make a DOI link out of that. The change in access may have something to do with what ISP you're using, are you perhaps sometimes looking at the link from an institution or university?
    – Atl LED
    Sep 28, 2015 at 17:17
  • @Atl LED, Thanks! I think I finally understand how to make the DOI link.
    – watkipet
    Sep 28, 2015 at 17:30
  • Good job! That's a great skill to pick up and use pretty much anywhere you are linking something about science.
    – Atl LED
    Sep 28, 2015 at 18:02

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