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Published on June 15, 2011

Overlake Patient with Medtronic Revo Pacemaker is First in Western Washington to Receive MRI Scan

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See Overlake's interviews with the patient and her cardiologist.

Bellevue, Wash. – A cardiac patient at Overlake Hospital Medical Center marked a big first this week: she was the first person in Western Washington with an FDA-approved implanted pacemaker to receive a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. Like many patients, Teresa Bliss relies on a pacemaker for her heart condition, but she also needs occasional MRI scans to monitor another health condition, in this case a recent stroke. Because she has a new type of pacemaker designed especially for the MRI environment and the only one approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, she can now get both safely.

Dr. Alan Heywood, an Overlake cardiologist, implanted Bliss's new pacemaker device in March to ensure she can receive treatment for all of her health concerns, now and in the future. Her first MRI scan with the new pacemaker was performed successfully as an outpatient procedure at Washington Imaging Services on the Overlake campus.

Before this pacemaker was developed, MRIs were not recommended for patients with implanted pacemakers because of the possibility of serious complications, such as interference with pacemaker operation, damage to its components, or the chance that the lead or pacemaker could become dislodged or that the image could become obscured.

Developed by Medtronic, the Revo MRI SureScan pacing system is the first system of its kind in the U.S. and, when programmed into SureScan mode prior to an MRI scan, is designed to be used safely in the MRI environment. There are several pacemakers currently on the market that have been used with MRI, but the Revo system is the only one with FDA approval and does not require special protocols including having a cardiologist in the room during the scan.

It's estimated that 200,000 patients each year forego an MRI scan because they have a pacemaker. MRI is often preferred by physicians because it provides a level of detail and clarity not offered by other soft tissue imaging. And, unlike many types of imaging, MRI scans don't expose patients to radiation.

"Medical imaging and electronic implantable devices such as pacemakers are important technological advances, particularly for older people," said Heywood. "Overlake is proud to provide safer access to MRI for our patients. We encourage our patients to talk to their doctor about which pacemaker system is right for them."

Overlake Hospital Medical Center is a nonprofit, non-tax-supported regional medical center with a network of medical clinics throughout the Eastside. For more information, log on to www.overlakehospital.org.

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