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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2004 Apr 7;43(7):1315-24.

Magnetic resonance imaging and cardiac pacemaker safety at 1.5-Tesla.

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Oklahoma Heart Institute, Tulsa 74133, USA.



The study was done to determine whether patients with pacemakers could safely undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 1.5-Tesla (T).


Because of theoretical risks, it is an absolute contraindication for a patient with a pacemaker to undergo MRI. However, there are times when an MRI is needed to provide valuable clinical information.


Fifty-four patients underwent a total of 62 MRI examinations at 1.5-T. The type of MRI examination was not limited and included cardiac, vascular, and general MRI studies using various whole-body averaged specific absorption rate (SAR) of radiofrequency power. Restrictions were not placed on the type of pacemaker present in the patient. All pacemakers were interrogated immediately before and after MRI scanning, and patients were continuously monitored. Before and after MRI, interrogation was done, and pacing and sensing thresholds, as well as lead impedances, were all measured.


A total of 107 leads and 61 pulse generators were evaluated. No adverse events occurred. Forty (37%) of the leads underwent changes, whereas 10 (9.4%) leads underwent a significant change. Only 2 of the 107 (1.9%) leads required a change in programmed output. Threshold changes were unrelated to cardiac chamber, anatomical location, peak SAR, and time from lead implant to the MRI examination. Electrocardiographic changes and patient symptoms were minor and did not require cessation of MRI.


Safety was demonstrated in this series of patients with pacemakers at 1.5-T.

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