Initial experience with magnetic resonance imaging-safe pacemakers : a review

J Interv Card Electrophysiol. 2011 Dec;32(3):213-9. doi: 10.1007/s10840-011-9610-0. Epub 2011 Oct 13.


Due of its superior soft tissue imaging capabilities, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has become the imaging modality of choice in many clinical situations, as illustrated by the tremendous growth in the number of MRIs performed over the past 2 decades. In parallel, the number of patients who require pacemakers or implantable cardiac defibrillators is increasing as indications for these devices broaden and the population ages. Taken together, these phenomena present an important clinical issue, as MR scans are generally contraindicated-except in urgent situations-in patients who have implanted cardiovascular devices. Potentially deleterious interactions between the magnetic fields and radio frequency (RF) energy produced by MR equipment and implantable devices have been identified, including inhibition of pacing, asynchronous/high-rate pacing, lead tip heating, and loss of capture. New devices that incorporate technologies to improve MR safety in patients with pacemakers have recently received approval in Europe and are under evaluation in the United States. Initial data from these devices suggest that these devices are safe in the MRI environment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Burns, Electric / prevention & control*
  • Contraindications
  • Equipment Failure*
  • Equipment Safety*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / instrumentation*
  • Pacemaker, Artificial*
  • Pilot Projects