Leadless pacemaker safe with MRI, say researchers

7th July 2016

Researchers have been looking at whether a new leadless pacemaker, inserted into the heart by a vein in the leg, can be harmed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Technology companies are keen to produce heart devices that will remain safe when patients under go MRI, which is increasingly needed for investigations into various medical problems.

A safety evaluation of Medtronic’s leadless pacemaker, the Micraa Transcatheter Pacemaker, has been undertaken by researchers from the company and Dr Kyoko Soejima from the department of cardiology at Kyorin University Hospital in Tokyo, Japan. It has been published online in the Heart Rhythm Journal.

The Micra is much smaller than conventional pacemakers and is designed to be implanted via a catheter in the right ventricle to give single-chamber pacing.

The researchers looked at various risks from MRI, including device heating, unintended heart stimulation and device malfunction. They also looked at a patient who had the Micra device, an MRI scan and no MRI-related complications.

They concluded that the overall risk was greatly reduced because of the size of the device and the absence of a lead.

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