FAQs about MRI scans with a cardiac pacemaker

Which cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators can be examined in an MR scanner?

Nearly all pacemakers, defibrillators and CRT systems can be examined in an MR scanner.

Which MRI scans can be carried out?

All standard examinations can be carried out. This specifically includes all examinations of the organs of the chest.

Why has the European Society of Cardiology recently given permission for MRI scans to be carried out on patients with pacemakers and defibrillators?

In recent years scientific research has shown that neither the patient nor the pacemaker/defibrillator suffered any damage during MRI examinations. In view of these findings the European Society of Cardiology now allows patients with pacemakers or defibrillators to be examined in an MRI if specific safety measures are observed.

What safety measures does the European Society of Cardiology recommend?

The patient must undergo a thorough cardiologic examination before the MR scan can be arranged. The activity of the heart is checked, past illnesses are recorded and your pacemaker/defibrillator is given a special check. On the day of the MR scan the pacemaker/defibrillator will be reprogrammed by the cardiologist who is in attendance at the radiological surgery, in accordance with the safety measures recommended by the European Society of Cardiology. A cardiologist and a radiologist will attend to you before, during and after the examination. Your cardiovascular system is monitored continuously throughout the MR examination.

What other facilities are available for the patient’s safety?

An experienced team made up of cardiologists, radiologists and further assistants will care for you during the whole examination. This team is not only very highly qualified in the fields of cardiology and radiology, but also in the field of emergency medicine. Members of the team also work as emergency physicians or as paramedics for example for the city of Munich, the capital of the federal state. It goes without saying, that all equipment required in an emergency is on hand, including an external pacemaker. But, please be reassured, scientific research in recent years has shown that neither the patient nor the pacemaker/defibrillator have come to harm during a MR scan.

Where can I obtain further information?

Please contact Tel. No. 089 2323 1846. A member of our team will make a note of your data and your request for further information. Your call will be returned, or you will receive an email from us in the course of further treatment or when an appointment is made.

What is the examination procedure?

The examination procedure involves three separate appointments. The initial medical examination, the day of the MRI examination and the follow-up check.

Initial medical examination (in Dr. Hölzenbein’s private surgery
Dr Hölzenbein carries out a cardiological examination, evaluates past illnesses and the pacemaker/defibrillator is given a special check. Subsequently the reason for your MR scan is discussed with the doctor who is treating you, with a radiologist and with you. Then you are given an appointment for the MRI examination.

The day of the MRI examination (in Divocare’s radiological surgery)
On the day of the examination, you are greeted by the medical team. The radiologist and cardiologist discuss the final details with you. A venous access device is put into place so that blood samples can be taken or that a contrast agent can be given. A few minutes before you are taken to the room for the scan, your pacemaker/defibrillator is reset to a prescribed safety mode. Before the MR scan starts, you are attached to an ECG device and are given a finger clip (Sp02) and a blood pressure cuff to monitor your cardiovascular system. Directly after the scan your pacemaker/defibrillator is reset to its original mode – this only takes a few minutes. Following this the radiologist discusses the findings with you. Your doctor is also informed of the findings on the same day.

Follow-up Check
After about 3 weeks Dr Hölzenbein carries out a final cardiological examination and the pacemaker/defibrillator is subjected to a special check. That is the end of the examination procedure.

What is an open MRI?

The open MRI ”PANORAMA” manufactured by Phillips is different from conventional MRI scanners because of its open construction. The tube or tunnel which is about 60 – 70 cm long is open at both ends. Because of this, one can look out of the scanner during the examination, and this helps patients with a predisposition to claustrophobia get through the examination without experiencing fear. In addition the open MRI has a field strength of 1 T(esla), which is the strength that is specifically recommended by the European Society of Cardiologists for such examinations for safety reasons.

I am afraid of the examination!

Fear is a natural reaction. But if it impedes a person in everyday life it becomes burdensome. You do not need to be afraid of a scan. Please tell us and we can respond to your individual needs. Most patients are not afraid in an open MR scanner, but if necessary we can give you a sedative/tranquiliser/medication to calm you down.

Where is Dr. Hölzenbein’s surgery?

The surgery is located at Theatiner Straße 35. The staircase and the lift to the second floor are in Rezidenzpassage.

Where is DiVoCare’s radiological surgery?

The surgery is located at Kauffinger Straße 15 (Benetton-Haus) opposite HIRMER. The entrance with the lift to the 5th floor is in Fürstenfelderstraße between C&A and Benetton.

Make an appointment

Tel. 089 / 2323 1846

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