MRI-conditional pacemakers: current perspectives
António M Ferreira,1,2 Francisco Costa,2 António Tralhão,2 Hugo Marques,3 Nuno Cardim,1 Pedro Adragão1,2
1Cardiology Department, Hospital da Luz, 2Cardiology Department, Hospital Santa Cruz- CHLO, 3Radiology Department, Hospital da Luz, Lisbon, Portugal
Abstract: Use of both magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and pacing devices has undergone remarkable growth in recent years, and it is estimated that the majority of patients with pacemakers will need an MRI during their lifetime. These investigations will generally be denied due to the potentially dangerous interactions between cardiac devices and the magnetic fields and radiofrequency energy used in MRI. Despite the increasing reports of uneventful scanning in selected patients with conventional pacemakers under close surveillance, MRI is still contraindicated in those circumstances and cannot be considered a routine procedure. These limitations prompted a series of modifications in generator and lead engineering, designed to minimize interactions that could compromise device function and patient safety. The resulting MRI-conditional pacemakers were first introduced in 2008 and the clinical experience gathered so far supports their safety in the MRI environment if certain conditions are fulfilled. With this technology, new questions and controversies arise regarding patient selection, clinical impact, and cost-effectiveness. In this review, we discuss the potential risks of MRI in patients with electronic cardiac devices and present updated information regarding the features of MRI-conditional pacemakers and the clinical experience with currently available models. Finally, we provide some guidance on how to scan patients who have these devices and discuss future directions in the field.
Keywords: pacemakers, magnetic resonance imaging, MRI, MRI-conditional devices, safety
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