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New Zealand 'medical first' at Waikato Hospital
A 77-year-old Cambridge woman this week became the first person in New Zealand to get a new pacemaker system developed for use in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines.
The operation was at Waikato Hospital on Monday and Mrs Faith Broughton is back home recuperating in Cambridge.
Waikato Hospital is the first hospital in New Zealand to use the new technology – the Medtronic EnRhythm MRI™ SureScan™ pacing system – ahead of its widespread availability in the country.
“This patient was chosen because she requires regular MRI scans to manage an additional health condition and until now, she would have been unable to have these important scans once the pacemaker was implanted,” said interventional cardiologist Dr Rikard Linder.
“Studies have shown that commonly used MRI scanners can interrupt or withhold pacing therapy, which may be hazardous and possibly life-threatening, and/or cause damage to the device.”
Mrs Broughton is recovering at Cambridge Resthaven and intends heading back home next week.
She says she is looking forward to having a more fulfilled life.
MRI scans are used to diagnose and manage conditions such as cancer, as well as neurological, musculoskeletal and some cardiovascular disorders. The number of MRI scans performed increases each year, as does the number of people with implanted cardiac devices. Approximately 1500 pacemakers are inserted annually in New Zealand.
For safety reasons, device manufacturers and regulatory agencies worldwide, including The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists, recommend against MRI scans for individuals with implantable cardiac devices.
“We see patients every week who aren’t able to have an MRI scan to determine the cause of a clinical issue and must use less effective diagnostic methods because they have a pacemaker. The ability to perform MRI scans is critical, especially as the number of people who receive medical devices in New Zealand increases,” he said.
The EnRhythm MRI™ SureScan™ pacemaker includes modified hardware to minimise the level of energy transmitted through the lead/device connection point. The pacemaker also includes a new feature that can be programmed “on” before an MRI scan to eliminate the impact of MRI-generated electrical noise, which can prevent necessary pacing therapy or cause the device to oversense and deliver unnecessary pacing therapy. When the SureScan™ feature is on, the device’s data collection and monitoring functions are temporarily suspended, while allowing the device to continue providing asynchronous pacing if needed. The device and leads also contain radiopaque marks, viewable via X-ray, to indicate that the system is MRI-compatible.
According to estimates, 50-75 percent of patients worldwide with implanted cardiac devices are expected to need an MRI scan during the lifetime of their devices.
About MRIMRI lets doctors see internal organs, blood vessels, muscles, joints, tumors, areas of infection and more, without X-rays or surgery, and without exposing the patient to any ionising radiation. The MRI machine creates a magnetic field, sends radio waves through the body, then measures the response with a computer, creating an image of the inside of the body. In many cases, MRI gives information that cannot be seen on an X-ray, ultrasound or computed tomography (CT) scan.
Images are available from the photo library.
Date: 29 May 2009
Mary Anne Gill