Sandeep Gautam, MD, implanted central Missouri’s first MRI-friendly defibrillator Oct. 9 at University Hospital.
Many people with irregular heartbeats have surgically implanted defibrillators to monitor and correct their heart rhythms. Patients with defibrillators also often have other medical conditions that may require magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for diagnostic tests, which is not advised for those with defibrillators.
“Patients who need implantable cardioverter defibrillators are often older adults with other serious medical conditions,” said Gautam, a cardiac electrophysiologist. “Until now, the risk that an MRI may cause the defibrillator to malfunction has prohibited use of this diagnostic tool.”
Because implantable cardioverter defibrillators deliver an electrical signal to the heart, the magnetic energy from MRIs can interfere with that signal, preventing the device from correctly monitoring heart rhythm and delivering appropriate therapy.
The new MRI-friendly defibrillator implanted Oct. 9 is safer because of hardware, software and programming changes that prevent malfunction during MRI scanning.
To learn more about MRI-friendly defibrillators and other services at the MU Heart and Vascular Center, please visit muhealth.org/heart.