Published on April 04, 2011

Milford Regional Implants New Pacemaker That Allows MRI Access

Milford Regional Medical Center is the second hospital statewide to implant a new cardiac pacemaker that allows patients to have magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests. This revolutionary pacing system, which was developed by Medtronics, received FDA approval for MRI use in 2011.

A pacemaker is a small device that’s placed in the chest or abdomen to help control abnormal heart rhythms. Prior to this breakthrough technology, patients that had a pacemaker could not undergo an MRI. The radiofrequency and static fields emitted by the powerful magnet could affect the pacing systems operation causing tissue damage, unintended cardiac stimulation and pacemaker malfunction. More than 200,000 patients annually in the United States have to forego an MRI scan because they have a pacemaker. The largest demographic impacted by this diagnostic limitation are those age 65 and older who comprise 86% of those with a pacing system. This group is twice as likely to need an MRI due to increased musculoskeletal and neurological problems. Because MRI is considered the gold standard diagnostic tool for neurologists, oncologists and orthopedic surgeons, it is estimated that 50 – 75% of pacemaker patients will have a medical need for an MRI over the lifetime of their device.

“Pacemakers are essential to the health and well being of many cardiac patients,” states cardiologist William Shine, MD. “With the introduction of this new, cutting-edge technology in pacemakers, patients can now benefit from MRI’s as well. This is a significant advancement in the overall care of our cardiac patients.”

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