New pacemaker makes its debut

Cardiac electrophysiologist Dr. Gregory Engel inserted an MRI-safe pacemaker into a patient’s chest Friday, making Sequoia Hospital the first hospital in Northern California to use the recently released device.  

“We’ve been waiting for this advancement for a long time,” Engel said.

The new pacemaker, Revo MRI SureScan pacing system, was released this month by Medtronic and allows pacemaker patients to undergo most MRI scans, an imaging tool that can diagnose problems such as neurological issues and certain cancers.

Though FDA-approved, the device hasn’t been tested for certain MRI scans, so Engel recommends pacemaker patients to check with their doctors before getting an MRI.

Pacemaker patients had to previously forgo MRI scans because of the procedure’s fluctuating magnetic field could cause the device to malfunction, Engel said. The advanced device can now switch to an MRI mode that allows the pacemaker to function within the MRI and doesn’t cause harm to the patient.

MRIs can also cause metal objects to heat up, such as the metal pacemaker tip wiring that attaches to the heart from the inside. The Revo pacemaker now contains tips that don’t heat up, allowing the pacemaker to keep working.

The first Revo procedure in the country was conducted Feb. 15 at Parkwest Medical Center in Knoxville, Tenn., by Dr. J. Rod Gimbel. Sequoia received the device Feb. 17 and used it in successful operation a day later.

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