Pacemaker lead tip heating in abandoned and pacemaker-attached leads at 1.5 Tesla MRI

J Magn Reson Imaging. 2011 Feb;33(2):426-31. doi: 10.1002/jmri.22463.


Purpose: To assess the risk of RF-induced heating in pacemaker-attached and abandoned leads using in vitro temperature measurements at 1.5 Tesla as a function of lead length.

Materials and methods: Five custom lead lengths, 20-60 cm, were exposed to a uniform magnitude and phase radiofrequency electric field to examine the effect of lead length on pacemaker lead tip heating for pacemaker-attached and abandoned pacemaker leads.

Results: Abandoned and pacemaker-attached leads show resonant heating behavior and maximum heating occurs at different lead lengths due to the differences in termination conditions. For clinical lead lengths (40-60 cm) abandoned leads exhibited greater lead tip heating compared with pacemaker-attached leads.

Conclusion: Current recommendations for MRI pacemaker safety should highlight the possible increased risk for patients with abandoned leads as compared to pacemaker-attached leads.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Electrodes, Implanted*
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Equipment Failure*
  • Equipment Safety / methods*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / instrumentation*
  • Pacemaker, Artificial*