It’s estimated that around 75 percent of people with implantable cardiac devices such as pacemakers or defibrillators will need magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at some point during their lifetime. Formerly, MRIs were not supposed to be performed on patients with cardiac pacemakers. After extensive research, radiology professionals at the American College of Radiology concluded that patients with pacemakers can safely undergo MRI procedures with the proper machines. Below we’ll define the specifications for patients with pacemakers looking to have an MRI.
MRIs are helpful diagnostic methods for a myriad of conditions and ailments. MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves coupled with computer imaging to create detailed depictions of inside the body. MRIs are used to diagnose disease or issues in patients’ bodies. They can also be used to determine how a patient is responding to treatment that he or she already administered. Unlike other imaging tests, MRIs don’t emit damaging radiation.
Concerns About MRI and Pacemakers
In the past, MRI was avoided in all patients with cardiac devices due to worries that the powerful magnetic fields generated during imaging could damage components in the device, impede the function of the pacemaker, or cause increased speed in pacing. Previously, your doctor may have suggested that you switch out your pacemaker with a different MRI-approved model, however researchers noted that you no longer need to replace your older device with an MRI-compatible model before getting a scan.
While still usually avoided if possible, you can get an MRI with a pacemaker under certain procedures. If you end up needing MRI with a pacemaker, there are special protocols that doctors can use to minimize the risks. They include setting the pacemaker to a safe mode before the scan, monitoring you closely during the procedure, and reprogramming the pacemaker to its original settings after the procedure. Patients are supervised by a cardiologist or pacemaker nurse through the procedure. You and your physician would need to carefully weigh the risks and benefits of all your options.
Where can you get an MRI with a pacemaker?
If you are in search of pacemaker MRI centers, look no further! BICRAD now offers MRI procedures for patients with any type of pacemaker in select locations including Contra Costa Imaging and John Muir Magnetic Imaging Center from board-certified radiologists.
You have options for an MRI even when you have a pacemaker. Call the specialists at BICRAD or schedule an appointment today!