Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in patients with implanted cardiac prostheses and metallic cardiovascular electronic devices is sometimes a risky procedure. Thus MRI in these patients should be performed when it is the only examination able to help with the diagnosis. Moreover the diagnostic benefit must outweigh the risks. Coronary artery stents, prosthetic cardiac valves, metal sternal sutures, mediastinal vascular clips, and epicardial pacing wires are not contraindications for MRI, in contrast to pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators. Appropriate patient selection and precautions ensure MRI safety. However it is commonly accepted that although hundreds of patients with pacemakers or implantable cardioverter-defibrillators have undergone safe MRI scanning, it is not a safe procedure. Currently, heating of the pacemaker lead is the major problem undermining MRI safety. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there are currently neither "MRI-safe" nor "MRI-compatible" pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators. In this article we review the international literature in regard to safety during MRI of patients with implanted cardiac prostheses and metallic cardiovascular electronic devices.
Copyright © 2011 The Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.