Medtronic Offers The First MRI Compatible Pacemaker In Europe

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There are several precautions accompanied with the use of MRI, among them is that is it is not Medtronic_logorecommended for patients using pacemakers. However, statistics mention that 1 of five patients using pace makers will need to perform, at least once, an MRI scan. Jean-Nicolas Dacher MD at the celebrated cardiac centre in the CHU in Rouen, said that MRI scan is "unmatched, irreplaceable and the indispensable reference for the diagnosis of cancers, neurological disorders, and increasingly, cardiac conditions," he added that other procedures such as computed tomography (CT) scans or ultrasound are often " not a suitable alternative to MRI for many conditions." While Dr. Pierre Bordachar MD at the Centre Hopitalière Universitaire (CHU), Bordeaux, France, said "there are few reasons to deny a patient an MRI scan, and nearly all of them are having a pacemaker,"

However, Dr. Bordachar mentioned that MRI scans are carried out on about 12 patients, with pacemakers, MRIevery year at CHU-Bordeaux under careful protocols. These protocols are including changing of the programming of the MRI scanner, in addition to careful patient monitoring by a cardiologist during the scan and a continued follow-up for several months. These protocols are aiming to control the side-effects of the procedure, as the three magnetic fields of the MRI can cause diverse effects such as arrhythmia, device damage, interfering with the function of the pace maker and an electronic reset of the device. Yet, the main concern is the super-heating of lead wires of the device. Moreover, Dr. Bordachar mentioned that even with following up with these protocols, "there are always going to be unpredictable complications." There is only one study that discussed the death cases resulted from MRI. It was carried out by Werner Irnich MD, at the University Hospital Giessen, Germany, who reported that data from 30 German medical centres said that, during the period between 1992 and 2001, six deaths took place when pacemaker patients underwent an MRI scan.

On the other hand, cardiologists welcomed the announcement of the introduction of a new innovative Advisa pacemaker, from Medtronic, in Europe this year. The new pace maker is the first MRI compatible device in the world; it was designed to minimize the heating of lead wires of the device under magnetic fields. The new Advisa pacemaker is going to be available for implantation in patients by next June, according to Christèle Pelade, Manager for Implanted Diagnostic & Monitoring Devices with Medtronic France.

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