From the Rambam hospital in my home town of Haifa comes another innovation to help those who have had pacemakers fitted as a consequence of their heart problems
New cutting-edge technology allows patients with pacemakers to safely undergo full MRI scans. In addition, this innovative device offers more functions than previous pacemakers. Lately, Rambam doctors implanted the device in the first Israeli patient
Rambam Health Care Campus (RHCC) doctors have implanted – in the first Israeli patient – a new improved pacemaker. This novel device, an updated version of the EnRythm MRI, is the first pacemaker developed that can be use safely during full body scans in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines. The device also offers more functions, particularly in the detection and treatment of arrythmias.
As part of a multi-national trial, the pacemaker was implanted in an Israeli patient by Dr Mahmud Suleiman, Dr Monder Boulos and Dr Yuval Goldschmidt of Rambam’s Cardiology Department.
While the first generation of the pacemaker, EnRythm MRI, implanted in a patient at Rambam last year, allowed for partial MRI scanning, the new device enables imaging of the entire body. EnRythm was developed by the company Medtronic, an international leader in medical technologies for chronic diseases that received the European CE Mark approval.
MRI has many advantages, including its unparalleled ability to discriminate between different soft tissues and the fact that it does not involve radiation. A sophisticated medical imaging device, MRI uses a powerful magnetic field to visualize the internal structure and function of the body for diagnostic purposes. To this point, patients with pacemakers could not undergo MRI testing since the device is sensitive to the MRI stimulus, which may cause life-threatening malfunctions.
It is estimated that some 50-75% of patients with heart implants worldwide will require MRI imaging tests during their lifetimes. In Europe alone, there are roughly two million patients with pacemakers who cannot undergo MRI imaging due to the high health risks involved.
"While the use of MRI testing has grown tremendously over the years and has become routine, it has also become a serious obstacle for heart implant patients due to incompatibility of the pacemaker with the powerful magnetic field of the imaging technology,” says Dr. Boulos. “The innovative pacemaker by Medtronic, allows heart implant patients to safely undergo MRI testing without risks to the functioning of the device"
“MRI is the best imaging modality available for neurology, rheumatology and orthopedics patients, since it has the best soft tissue characteristics,” says Dr. Ariel Roguin, head of Rambam’s Interventional Cardiology Laboratory, who wrote the European guidelines for this trial. “In the past, many patients who have pacemakers and neurology-related problems were denied this examination, which is crucial for accurate diagnosis. Now, with this new device, they can undergo the MRI procedure safely.”