Northside Hospital-Forsyth Implants Its First MRI-Conditional Pacemaker

Posted on: Wednesday, March 09, 2011


Northside Hospital-Forsyth has implanted Forsyth County’s first MRI-conditional pacemaker and was only the third hospital in Georgia to use the technology.  Developed by Medtronic, the Revo MRI™ SureScan® pacing system is the first and only pacing system in the U.S. that is designed, tested and FDA-approved for use in a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) environment.  Dr. Aman Kakkar, cardiologist, performed the procedure Feb. 23.

“As Forsyth County continues to grow, we are excited to expand our Cardiology Services to offer more diagnostic and treatment options for patients,” said Skip Putnam, CEO, Northside Hospital-Forsyth.  “New technologies allow us to ensure that we are offering our patients the most state-of-the-art and comprehensive of care.”

Pacemakers help regulate heart rate by emitting tiny electrical impulses to help the heart sustain a regular rhythm.  Each year, approximately 320,000 people in the U.S. are implanted with pacemakers and, as the population ages, the use of them is growing.

At the same time, the use of MRI as a diagnostic tool is increasing.  MRI allows physicians to more precisely evaluate human anatomy and disease processes through the use of computers and powerful magnetic fields.  More than 19,000 MRI exams are performed at Northside Hospital annually.  However, until now, MRI has not been available for patients with implanted pacemakers because of the serious damage the magnet can do to the device.  The Revo MRI is a state-of-the-art pacemaker that, when programmed into SureScan mode prior to an MRI scan, is designed to work safely and effectively in an MRI environment

“Half of all pacemaker patients require MRI at some time and seniors are twice as likely to need it,” said Dr. Kakkar, who adds that the majority of pacemaker patients are over 65 years of age.  Unfortunately, those patients also are at higher risk for many conditions for which MRI is beneficial including stroke, cancer and a variety of neurological and orthopedic conditions.  “This new device is very exciting because it allows physicians to prescribe MRI for patients, who would not have been candidates with existing pacemakers,” he said.

More than 130 pacemakers have been implanted at Northside Hospital-Forsyth in the last year.  However, the new pacemaker is not recommended as a replacement in patients who already have existing devices, due to the risks involved.  Rather, it will be available as an option for patients moving forward.  It also is important to note that the Revo MRI is not for everyone.  Patients should talk with their physicians about whether the device is right for them.

Northside Hospital-Forsyth has rapidly expanded its Cardiology Services in recent years to offer patients a wider array of options for diagnostic testing and treatment.  In March 2009, the hospital opened it’s first Cardiac Cath Lab to perform diagnostic heart catheterizations.  One year later, it began offering Percutaneous Coronary Interventions (PCI), previously known as angioplasty, followed by the opening of a second Cath Lab.

Read more about Northside's Heart & Vascular Institute. 

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