Spectrum Health implants state's first MRI-safe pacemaker

GRAND RAPIDS — The first implantation of an MRI-compatible pacemaker in Michigan was performed today at Spectrum Health Fred and Lena Meijer Heart Center. The device allows patients with a pacemaker to undergo safe magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.

An 80-year-old man received a Revo MRI SureScan pacing system, the first MRI-conditional pacing system designed, tested and FDA-approved for use in an MRI environment. Prior to this system, MRI procedures for patients with implanted pacemakers were not recommended because they might cause serious complications, such as interference with pacemaker operation, damage to system components and wire or pacemaker dislodgement.

“Medical imaging and electronic implantable devices such as pacemakers are important technological advances, particularly with our older patients,” said electrophysiologist Andre Gauri, MD, of West Michigan Heart. “I am pleased we can provide safer access to MRI for our patients. We encourage people to talk to their doctor about which pacing system is right for them.”

The number of patients with pacemakers is growing at the same time that the use of MRI is increasing. About 40 million MRI scans are performed annually in the U.S. and Spectrum Health Butterworth and Blodgett hospitals perform approximately 18,000 to 20,000 MRI scans each year. Physicians often prefer MRI because it provides a level of detail and clarity not offered by other soft tissue imaging modalities.

Research indicates that there is a 50 percent to 75 percent probability that cardiac device patients will need an MRI over the lifetime of their device. Additionally, more than 200,000 patients annually in the U.S. have to forego an MRI scan because they have a pacemaker. The new pacing system a Meijer Heart Center will help address this patient need.

Developed by Medtronic, the Revo MRI SureScan pacing system is the first pacing system of its kind in the U.S. It was designed to address safety concerns around MRI procedures for patients who have implanted pacemakers. MRI scanners may cause traditional pacemakers to misinterpret MRI-generated electrical noise and withhold pacing therapy or deliver unnecessary pacing therapy. This new pacing system, when programmed into a special mode prior to an MRI scan, can be used safely in the MRI environment.

For more information about Revo MRI go to www.medtronic.com/patient/revomri.

Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system in West Michigan that offers a full continuum of care through the Spectrum Health Hospital Group, nine hospitals and more than 170 service sites; the Spectrum Health Medical Group and West Michigan Heart, physician groups with more than 600 providers; and Priority Health, a health plan with 600,000 members. Spectrum Health’s 16,700 employees, 1,500 medical staff members and 2,350 volunteers are committed to delivering the highest quality care. The organization provided $115.9 million in community benefit during its 2010 fiscal year. In 2010, Spectrum Health was named a Top 10 Health System by Thomson Reuters.