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LIJ Medical Center Implants First MRI-Friendly Pacemaker

The North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset as well as in New Hyde Park have implanted the first pacemaker that can be used during certain magnetic resonance imaging on Long Island.

The new MRI-friendly heartbeat regulator was recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and will be available for use by all of the North Shore- LIJ Health System Electrophysiology programs.          

A pacemaker is a small device implanted under the skin (most often in the shoulder area just under the collarbone) and sends electrical pulses to prevent a slow heartbeat. An MRI combines a powerful magnetic field, a computer and radio frequency pulses to produce detailed images of the body’s organs, blood vessels, muscle, joints and tissues.           

Until recently, people with pacemakers were advised not to have an MRI because it could interfere with pacemaker operation or damage the device’s internal components, or pose risks to the patient.  A new pacemaker, the Revo MRI ™ Sure Scan ® pacing system, developed by Medtronic, Inc., is now compatible with certain MRI procedures.    

“For the first time, patients have access to new pacemaker technology that is designed to work safely and effectively in an MRI environment,” said Ram Jadonath, MD, director of electrophysiology at NSUH, and the first electrophysiologist on Long Island to implant the MRI-friendly device.  “The Revo pacemaker technology makes a meaningful difference in patients’ lives because they now are able to benefit from the sophisticated diagnostic imaging their physicians need to monitor and treat a variety of diseases and medical conditions.”          

The Revo pacemaker was specifically designed to address MRI safety concerns.  The device has a built-in function that’s meant to be turned on before a person undergoes an MRI scan.  According to Medtronic, the MRI-friendly pacemaker can only be used with specific components that are compatible with the Revo MRI Sure Scan pacing system.  Any other combination may result in a hazard to the patient during an MRI scan.          

The number of patients with pacemakers is growing while the use of MRI is increasing, especially among older adults.  About 40 million MRI scans are performed annually in the United States. MRI is often preferred by physicians because it provides a level of detail and clarity not offered by other soft tissue modalities.  Among the 1.5 million Americans with pacemakers, it is estimated that there is a 50 to 75 percent probability that cardiac device patients will be indicated for an MRI over the lifetime of their devices.         

To view a video about the MRI-friendly pacemaker, see the attached link: http://www.northshorelij.com/NSLIJ/Media+Portal#/1233803967875

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