MRI low risk for cardiac patients: study

MAGNETIC resonance imaging (MRI) can be safely undertaken in selected patients with certain cardiac devices as long as appropriate precautions are taken, research suggests.
 Potential risks include heating of the cardiac device leads or generator, and electromagnetic interference causing asynchronous pacing, oversensing or re-programming, researchers said.

They undertook a non-randomised trial in the US and Israel examining 438 patients with cardiac devices – 54% pacemakers and 46% defibrillators – who underwent 555 intensively monitored MRI procedures after certain device functions were disabled.

Most patients had no problems but three patients experienced transient change in the functioning of their device, and one MRI had to be aborted.

Professor Joseph Selvanayagam, director of cardiac imaging at Flinders University, said the study suggested the risk to patients was relatively low if expertly managed with appropriate