The Effects of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imagers on External and Implantable Pulse Generators


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78 Scopus citations


This study evaluates the effect of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) scanning on pacemaker function. it must be emphasized that each manufacturer's pulse generators and each pacing modality may behave differently and, therefore, require individual evaluation. According to our results, patients with pacemakers should have their pacing activity monitored continuously during scanning with the NMR 1500 gauss imaging system. External pulse generators should he net to the asynchronous mode and placed outside the NMR image volume but within the radiofrequency [RF] shield. Implanted pacemakers should be verified for type and mode of operation. Ail implantable pulse generators evaluated reverted from the demand to the asynchronous mode within the magnetic field of the scanner. There was no observable damage to the discrete pacemaker components that were tested. In vivo testing of implantable single‐chamber pulse generators did not significantly alter the pacemaker's operating parameters. Changes in stimulation rate analogous to the RF field pulse rate were seen. In single‐chamber devices the resultant rate was a multiple of the RF frequency, changing to a value less than the normal asynchronous magnetic rate. With morn sophisticated dual‐chamber devices the results varied. With VDD pacing during RF scanning, the cardiac stimulation rote increased to a value analogous to the value of the RF field modulation period. More extensive in vivo testing using different models of pulse generators of various manufacturers is needed to identify specific device susceptibility to the RF, time variance and steady‐state magnet fields. From these data a comprehensive statement about NMR scanning of patients with implanted pacemakers can be made.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)720-727
Number of pages8
JournalPacing and Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1984


  • asynchronous
  • isocenter
  • nuclear magnetic resonance
  • programmability
  • pulse generator
  • radio frequency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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