Winthrop-University Hospital announces Long Island’s first MRI-safe pacemaker implant

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Winthrop-University Hospital, Mineola, New York, USA is the first regional medical centre to implant an MRI-safe pacemaker in a cardiac patient on Long Island. Todd Cohen, director of Electrophysiology and Pacemaker/Arrhythmia Center at Winthrop-University Hospital, who completed the procedure, was also the lead investigator in the clinical trials that resulted in FDA approval for the Revo MRI Sure Scan (Medtronic) in February 2011.

Unlike traditional pacemakers, this particular pacing system is safe for patients who may need MRIs in the future. Prior to this pacing system, patients with implanted pacemakers were not recommended to have any MRI procedures because of potential risks such as interference with pacemaker operation, damage to system components, lead or pacemaker dislodgement or change in pacing capture threshold. The new MRI-safe pacemaker is the first device to enable patients with a pacemaker to also have safe MRIs.

Cohen, along with Winthrop-University Hospital’s Douglas Katz, vice chairman of Clinical Research and Education, Department of Radiology, and director of Body Imaging, played a key role in the FDA trial that led to the approval of this device. Additionally, Winthrop was the only hospital on Long Island to participate in the trial, which involved the placement and evaluation of the device.

“This device will be revolutionary to the management of chronic diseases in the future,” said Cohen “Many people with slow heart rhythm problems will, at some point in their life, require an MRI. Whether they have a stroke, a brain injury, or they need their hip evaluated, an MRI is often the diagnostic treatment of choice.”

The number of patients in need of MRI scans increases each year, as does the number of people with implanted cardiac devices. Approximately, 30 million MRI scans are performed in the USA every year and 320,000 Americans receive a pacemaker. Furthermore, an estimated 200,000 patients in the USA annually forego an MRI scan because they have a pacemaker.

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