MRI-safe Pacemaker

New technology allows some people with a pacemaker to undergo MRI.
New technology allows people with pacemakers to undergo MRI.

MRI scans help doctors spot everything from brain aneurysms to tumors. But millions of people with pacemakers haven't been able to undergo the tests because of the dangerous consequences.  An MRI's magnetic fields can disrupt a pacemaker's electronic system and even burn heart tissue.  Every year, 200,000 patients with traditional pacemakers forgo MRI scans because of those risks.

But now researchers have developed an MRI-safe pacemaker with several safety features like special circuitry that make it immune to an MRI's magnetic fields.
Cardiologist Dr. Marc Silver says, " if we now have a technology where the patients can have a pacemaker just like any other pacemaker but know that they're safe if they have to have an MRI, that's a big deal for that patient." 
Some doctors believe the MRI-safe pacemaker is best for patients getting a pacemaker for the first time.  They say people who already have one implanted likely won't be eligible for the new technology because of the possible deadly surgical complications of switching out the device's wires. 

The MRI-safe pacemaker has already been used in Europe for a few years.  It doesn't cost patients any more than a traditional pacemaker and is generally covered by insurance.
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