Edward first hospital in Illinois to implant MRI-safe pacemaker. Read the Chicago Sun-Times/Naperville Sun story.
Edward Hospital first in state to implant new pacemaker
By Monifa Thomas Sun-Times Media
Mar. 16, 2011
Magnetic resonance imaging is one of the most accurate - and least invasive - ways for doctors to obtain images of the body's soft tissue, such as organs and muscles.
But people with implanted pacemakers have been told not to get MRIs. The intense magnetic fields generated by these scans can interrupt pacemaker function or heat wires called leads attached to the heart.
A new type of pacemaker, approved last month by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is the first specifically designed to allow patients to safely undergo an MRI scan.
Called the Revo MRI SureScan, the new pacemaker from health-device giant Medtronic is "an extremely important breakthrough in technology," said Dr. Matthew Nora, a cardiac electrophysiologist at Edward Hospital in Naperville whose patient Fernando Mata was the first in Illinois to be implanted with the device. "It's especially beneficial for older patients who have or might develop conditions that require an MRI scan."
About 1.5 million Americans have pacemakers, devices that send electrical pulses to the heart to help maintain a regular rhythm. Roughly 200,000 pacemaker patients each year have to forgo MRI scans because of the potential safety risks, Medtronic estimates.
A computed tomography, or CT, scan is often the backup test used for pacemaker patients who can't have an MRI. But CT scans use low-dose radiation, and the images they produce aren't as detailed, making it more difficult to diagnose conditions such as cancer, stroke and multiple sclerosis, said Dr. Sean Tierney, a heart rhythm specialist at MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island.
Tierney has implanted the Revo pacemaker in four patients, all of whom had chronic illnesses that made it likely they would need an MRI in the future.
The device is approved for use in patients who have slow heartbeats.
Mata, 61, of Aurora, needed a pacemaker after he visited the Edward Emergency Department with symptoms of extreme fatigue and shortness of breath.
"I just wasn't feeling right," Mata said in a press release.
Monitoring of his vital signs showed Mata's heart rate was very low. Testing revealed that the top half of his heart wasn't communicating properly with the bottom half. Mata had a problem with the conductive, or electrical, system of his heart, a condition that could be corrected.
The next day, Nora implanted a Revo MRI SureScan pacemaker in Mata, whose heart rate returned to the normal range.
Mata is a likely candidate for future MRIs. He was treated for a pituitary tumor in 2010 and has been a diabetic for the last 23 years. He's gradually returning to normal activity.
"It's a great benefit in case I need an MRI," he says.
A nurse or Medtronic employee has to program the pacemaker before and after an MRI.
Tierney said the device shouldn't be used in patients who have metal implants in their body, are too claustrophobic to tolerate an MRI scan or who already have an implanted defibrillator or older-generation pacemaker.
The Revo costs between $5,000 and $10,000, not including the cost of surgery, a Medtronic spokeswoman said. That's comparable to other pacemakers.
Naperville, Illinois (IL) - Edward Hospital and Health Services