ETMC Tyler was recently the site of the first East Texas implantation of an MRI-friendly pacemaker, which allows magnetic resonance imaging as a diagnostic option for patients whose hearts need electrical correction.
Called the Revo MRI™ SureScan® pacing system from Medtronic, it is the first system designed, tested and FDA-approved for use in an MRI environment.
“Previously a patient with a pacemaker only had a CT scan as an advanced imaging option,” said Alex Petrakian, MD, a cardiologist with Cardiovascular Associates of East Texas and the ETMC Cardiovascular Institute. The CT is useful in many instances, but is not always the ideal tool.
Pacemakers have improved the lives of millions of Americans. “For many patients, the heart’s electrical system gets lazy,” Dr. Petrakian said. It needs the assistance of a pacemaker. In these new devices, the manufacturer has changed the circuitry, so that they don’t overheat when a patient receives an MRI.
Dr. Petrakian implanted the first device at ETMC Tyler, and believes it will be an option for many patients, because almost anyone might need an MRI at some point in life. Studies published in several medical journals suggest that there is a 50 to 75 percent probability that cardiac device patients will be indicated for an MRI over the lifetime of their devices. Knee, shoulder or hip problems and many other health issues require MRI scans.
Medtronic developed the new pacemaker specifically to address MRI safety concerns. In most pacemakers, wires include tightly placed filaments for conducting the electrical charge.
“They’ve changed the design of the wires,” Dr. Petrakian said. The wires in the new device are slightly larger, allowing more space between filaments, which helps prevent overheating.
For more on the ETMC Cardiovascular Institute, visit etmc.org/cardiac
ETMC facilities include hospitals in Athens, Carthage, Clarksville, Crockett, Fairfield, Gilmer, Henderson, Jacksonville, Mount Vernon, Pittsburg, Quitman, Trinity and Tyler.
ETMC is a not-for-profit organization committed to improving the quality of life in communities throughout East Texas.