Portneuf doctor implants first MRI-compatible pacemaker

POCATELLO — A local doctor has implanted the first and only MRI- compatible pacemaker device into two patients, just two months after the device was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Dr. Benjamin Call, a cardiologist at Pocatello Cardiology at Portneuf Medical Center, inserted the Medtronic, Revo MRI SureScan pacing system into a patient younger than 35 and a patient in their 50s. It is the first pacemaker in the U.S. specifically designed for use in a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) environment.
"Each year 200,000 people can't get an MRI because of a pacemaker," Call said. "There is reason to be concerned about this."
MRI scanners may cause traditional pacemakers to misinterpret MRI-generated electrical noise and withhold pacing therapy or deliver unnecessary pacing therapy. The new Revo MRI pacemaker can be programmed prior to an MRI scan to an appropriate mode for the MRI environment, preventing interference.
According to Medtronic, 13 percent of those receiving a pacemaker implant are under the age of 65 and 85 percent have one or more disorders or diseases in addition to a heart condition.
"One in six will need an MRI," Call said. He said there is a 50-75 percent likelihood that people with a pacemaker will need an MRI in their lifetime.
"This particular devise is very remarkable," Call said of the Medtronic Revo. "It was built from the ground up with the intent to be more compatible."
Once inserted, the pacemaker will last for 5-10 years. The device is inserted through a one-inch incision near the heart.
Call said the device is particularly beneficial for younger patients and can only be used in patients receiving a pacemaker for the first time.