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On Valentine’s Day – the heart-centric holiday, appropriately enough – the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute at St. David’s Medical Center became the first Texas facility and second facility nationwide to implant the new Medtronic Revo MRI™ SureScan® pacing system since the device’s approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just last week.

So, what’s so great about the new pacemaker? It’s MRI-compatible.

Until now, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans were considered unsafe for patients with heart-pacing implants, because the MRI magnets could interfere their device.

“The strong magnetic fields produced by MRI machines can disrupt the electronic pulses created by the pacemaker … which can result in a potentially life-threatening heart arrhythmia,” explains TCAI electrophysiologist Robert Canby, MD. “The magnets can also send energy through the leads [wires] … which can result in a shock or burning of the heart tissue.”

About 200,000 American pacemaker patients a year have had to skip MRI scans that could help with the early diagnosis and treatment of serious health threats like stroke, cancer, or neurologic or orthopedic conditions.

The new pacing system is the first and only pacemaker in the U.S. designed especially for use with MRI scanning – a great leap forward for the 50-75% of pacemaker patients who will need an MRI scan during their device’s lifetime.

Learn more about TCAI’s successful implant of the new device here.

~ Jamie LaRue, RN

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