Is It Possible To Go For An MRI If You Have A Pacemaker?

By Berry Mathew

According to the study, millions of people undergo MRI scans each year, with 75% of them having cardiac implants such as a pacemaker. Patients with cardiac health issues, even with a pacemaker, can suffer from various kinds of health issues during their lifetime, and they need to go for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). It is true because MRI uses strong metal, so it is not safe to undergo an MRI scan if you have a pacemaker.

An MRI scanner uses a very strong magnet to produce a detailed image of the inside of the body. The magnetic field used for the scanning may affect the various kinds of metallic implants and even fragments in the body. The metallic implants can be pacemakers and their wires, cardioverter defibrillators, metal heart valves, brain aneurysm clips, artificial joints, dental fillings, etc. That’s why patients with any of these kinds of metallic implants are forbidden to undergo an MRI scan.

Earlier the MRI scans were not performed on patients with cardiac pacemakers. But it can be possible now. Because as per in depth research by the professionals from the radiology department  of the American College of Radiology, patients suffering from pacemakers can safely undergo MRI procedures with the proper MRI scanner.

But nowadays, most modern pacemakers and other implanted metallic devices are MRI-compatible. So, the patient should always tell the doctor and technologists beforehand if he or she has any kind of metallic implants or pacemakers inside the body. By knowing about the presence of metallic implants inside the body of the patient, it is possible to conduct the MRI scan safely by avoiding the risks and ensuring the implants won’t affect the quality of the scan or produce a false result.

In this blog, we will define the detailed information for patients with pacemakers looking to get an MRI scan.

  • About the MRI scan
  • What kinds of health issues can be detected with the help of an MRI scan?
  • MRI scan and cardiac pacemaker
  • Is it safe for patients with a cardiac pacemaker to undergo an MRI?
  • Total time duration for an MRI scan
  • What are the charges for an MRI scan?
  • Final Thoughts

About An MRI Scan

 An MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) scan is a highly effective and helpful diagnostic technique that is used to detect and diagnose a multitude of health issues and conditions. MRI uses a highly powerful magnetic field combined with radio waves and computer technology to produce a detailed picture of the body. The MRI scan is most commonly used to image organs, soft tissues, and musculoskeletal systems, such as brain and spinal cord issues, heart and blood vessel issues, internal organ issues, bones and joints issues, and so on. Apart from the diagnosis, it can be used to measure the response to the treatment that the patient is taking. Unlike other diagnostic and imaging procedures, it doesn’t use any kind of harmful radiation, so compared to other diagnostic procedures, it is safe.

MRI Scan And Health Issues

An MRI scan can be used to detect various kinds of health conditions related to internal organs, tissues, joints, and bones.

Here are some conditions that can be detected using MRI scans, such as:

  • Blood vessel damage
  • Brain injury
  • Brain cancer
  • Stroke
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Blocked blood vessels
  • Heart diseases and disorders
  • Damage caused by a heart disease or heart attack
  • inflammation of tissues surrounding the heart.
  • Aorta-related difficulty
  • Structural abnormalities in the heart
  • Arthritis
  • Bone infection
  • Spinal cord problems
  • Joint problems
  • Breast cancer screening and diagnosis
  • Problems with internal organs such as the liver, kidney, ovaries, prostate, and pancreas

MRI Scan And Cardiac Pacemaker

Patients suffering from cardiac health issues or with cardiac pacemakers need to undergo MRIs for some reasons. But due to the use of the powerful magnetic field in the MRI scanner for producing pictures of the inside of the body, patients with pacemakers are always forbidden from undergoing MRI scans. The main reason is that it can affect the functioning of the device by damaging the components used in it. The damaged components can lead to various kinds of issues, such as abnormal pacing. So, the doctor suggested the patient get a pacemaker for an alternative imaging procedure. However, thanks to technological advancements, MRI scans can now be performed safely on pacemaker patients. But it is not possible with all pacemakers, but only with selected pacemakers. So, we can say that the MRI is still contraindicated for patients with pacemakers.

Is It Safe For Patients With A Cardiac Pacemaker To Undergo An MRI?

An MRI is not safe for patients with all types of pacemakers. Only advanced and new pacemakers that are specifically designed to be used safely in the MRI environment are safe. The new pacemaker may allow patients to undergo MRIs safely. It is also possible to get the MRI safely done with a pacemaker using special protocols to minimise the risks of damage under the supervision of pacemaker experts and cardiologists.

Total Time Duration For An MRI Scan

The total time duration for an MRI scan depends on the area to be scanned, the size of the area, the number of images required to diagnose the problem, and the involvement of contrast media. Otherwise, it takes a minimum of 15 minutes to 90 minutes for completion.

What Are The Charges For An MRI Scan?

MRI test price depends on the type of MRI, whether it is an MRI scan without contrast or an MRI scan with contrast, as well as the specific purpose of the scan. When compared to the cost of a regular MRI without contrast, the cost of an MRI with contrast is always higher. The cost of an MRI scan can be between INR 8,000 and INR 9000. On the other hand, the cost of an MRI scan with contrast can be between INR 13000 and INR 18000.

Final Conclusion

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is without a doubt a safe diagnostic procedure for detecting and diagnosing various types of health conditions related to heart health, muscle and bone health, spinal cord, brain health, blood vessels, and so on. Because, it doesn’t use any kind of harmful radiation to view and image the inside of the body, it is highly safe compared to other imaging procedures that use harmful x-ray radiation, such as CT and X-ray. Although an MRI scan is still not considered the very first imaging methodology for patients with heart pacemakers, with technological advancement, some new pacemakers are designed specifically for the MRI environment. So, with the proper precautions and following the special protocol, it is possible to undergo MRI with a pacemaker. Every diagnostic centre uses a different protocol to perform the scanning procedure. If you are recommended for an MRI scan but have an implanted pacemaker, contact a nearby MRI scan diagnostic centre to confirm whether they perform the MRI scan on patients with pacemakers. or not to ensure that nothing goes wrong.

I hope this article has given you the information you need to address your concerns about MRI scans for pacemaker patients and made it easier for you to communicate with your doctor if you have metallic implants inside your body, not just a pacemaker but also others.