The worldwide use of both magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and pacing devices has vastly increased in recent years and an important number of implanted patients likely will need an MRI over the course of the lifetime of their device. Although some studies have demonstrated that, given appropriate precautions, MRI can be safely performed in patients with selected implantable pacemakers, MRI in pacemaker patients is still contraindicated. Recently, new pacing systems have been specifically designed for safe use in the MRI environment and the first experience reported suggests that the technology is safe and may allow patients to undergo MRI. MRI safe or MRI compatible products help maximize safety and comfort both for patients and medical staffs. According to the AHA general recommendations, MRI examination of nonpacemaker-dependent patients is discouraged and should only be considered in cases in which there is a strong clinical indication and in which the benefits clearly outweigh the risks. The increased need for MRI in PPM patients has prompted the development of a specifically designed pacemaker and lead system tested for safe use in the MRI environment and in early 2011, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first cardiac pacemaker designed to be used safely but conditionally during MRI examinations.
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