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MRI May Cause Safety Risk for Some Patients With Pacemakers

December 17, 2009
Written by: , Filed in: Cardiac Imaging
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MRI scans may interfere with certain cardiac pacemakers, causing inadequate or unintended stimulation of a patient’s heart, say FDA researchers. Their findings are published this week in BioMedical Engineering Online. According to the study, the problem occurs when magnetic pulses from the scan mix with electronic pulses from the pacemaker. The team evaluated the risk by measuring electronic voltage produced near a pacemaker’s lead tips, which touch the interior of the heart, following exposure to a simulated MRI field. Results showed that such exposure could cause the pacemaker to deliver a “drastically altered pulse,” leading to potentially disastrous consequences for the patient.


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