Medtronic is the first company to receive FDA approval for its cardiac rhythm and heart failure devices and leads to be scanned in both 3 and 1.5 Tesla (T) MRI machines. As a result, patients will have access to Medtronic SureScan MR-conditional pacemakers, implantable cardioverter-defibrillators, and cardiac resynchronization therapy-defibrillators, and leads access to MRI scans on any part of the body.

Approximately 12% to 16% of patients with cardiac devices have a condition in which MRI would typically be prescribed—but it’s not an option for less than 1% of these patients because of device or lead restrictions. Before MR-conditional capabilities were available, patients with cardiac devices were contraindicated from undergoing MRI scans to avoid a potential interaction between the MRI and the device function.

MRI is valuable in the diagnosis of conditions including cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and muscle, bone, and joint pain—and the 3T MRI delivers better diagnosis, improved image quality, and reduced scan duration, when compared to 1.5T scans.

“The potential interaction between cardiac devices and MRIs has been a long-running concern for patients and physicians,” says Marc Silver, MD, cardiologist at WakeMed Heart and Vascular Physicians in Raleigh, NC. “Fortunately, advancements in MR-conditional cardiac device technology give patients more access to this important diagnostic tool.”

Says Yair Safriel, MD, neuroradiologist and chief medical officer at Pharmascan Clinical Trials and the University of South Florida, “While 1.5T scanners still comprise the majority of installations, 3T scanners are expected to comprise more than half of new units—with some centers having only 3T scanners—since they offer faster scans and higher resolution images.”

Safriel continues: “Approval for MRI-conditional scanning at both 1.5 and 3T allows patients to have improved access to MRI at a time and place most appropriate for their care. And with 3T scanning, physicians and radiologists gain a clearer look into soft tissues, particularly critical when diagnosing serious conditions, often involving the brain and spine.”

For more information about these technologies, visit Medtronic.