martes, 24 de abril de 2012

MRI Safe Pacemaker: Off Limits No More! | Medical News and Health Information

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MRI Safe Pacemaker: Off Limits No More! | Medical News and Health Information

MRI Safe Pacemaker: Off Limits No More! -- Research Summary

BACKGROUND:  A pacemaker is a device that is placed in the chest to help control abnormal heart beats.  It uses electrical pulses to prompt the heart to beat normally. Usually, pacemakers are used to treat arrhythmias (problems with the heart rate or rhythm of the heartbeat). During arrhythmias the heart may not be able to pump enough blood to the body causing other symptoms like fatigue, fainting, or shortness of breath.  Severe arrhythmias can attack the body’s vital organs and can result in loss of consciousness or even death.  A pacemaker may relieve some arrhythmia symptoms and can also help people with abnormal heartbeats resume an active lifestyle.

UNDERSTANDING THE HEART’S ELECTRICAL SYSTEM:  The heart has its own internal electrical system that controls the rhythm and rate of the heartbeat.  When the heart beats, an electrical signal spreads from the top to the bottom of the heart.  When the signal travels, it causes the heart to contract and pump blood.  Each electrical signal normally begins in the sinus node (a group of cells). As the signal spreads, it coordinates the timing of heart cell activity.  First, the heart’s two upper chambers (the atria) contract, then the ventricles contract and pump blood throughout the body.  The combination of the contraction between the atria and the ventricles is called a heartbeat. When the electrical signaling fails in the heart, it causes arrhythmias .(Source:

DANGER OF PACEMAKERS AND MRIs:  MRI systems expose patients to very strong magnetic fields that can disrupt electronic pulses generated by a pacemaker.  A study performed in 2009 found that the magnetic field can also increase the temperature at the tip of the pacemaker lead within the heart and can cause heart tissue to burn.  FDA researchers also found that when the pacemaker is exposed to strong magnetic fields it could drastically alter the pulse and may not stimulate the heart properly. According to the National Council of Aging, a person’s chance of needing an MRI doubles after the age of 65 and 50% to 75% of patients with pacemakers will need an MRI over their lifetime. (Source:

NEW MRI SAFE PACEMAKER:  To help solve this problem, a new pacemaker has been developed. The FDA recently approved a new device, the Medtronic’s Revo MRI SureScan pacemaker. It will allow people with a pacemaker to safely use an MRI machine.  The SureScan is the first and only pacemaker in the U.S. approved as MRI safe.  The device can set itself into MRI mode that allows modifications to both the device and the leads that can reduce hazards associated with MRIs.  Since the Medtronic’s pacemakers are designed to treat bradycardia (a slow, irregular heartbeat that is interrupted), patients are a population that could benefit from MRI scans.  The best part about the new pacemaker is that it costs the same as a traditional pacemaker and is usually covered by insurance (Source:  MORE

MRI Safe Pacemaker: Off Limits No More! -- Research Summary | Medical News and Health Information

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MRI Safe Pacemaker: Off Limits No More! -- In Depth Doctor's Interview | Medical News and Health Information

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