CMS Asked To Review MRI For Pacemaker Patient Exclusion

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has opened a brief public comment period on a request to lift reimbursement restrictions on imaging pacemaker patients with pacemakers.

Example of a Pacemaker Pulse-Generator Which Could Present Dangerous Contraindications For MRI Exams

The review has been requested by Robert Russo, MD, with Scripps Research Institute. A copy of Dr. Russo’s request can be viewed here.

The public comment period is open through July 28, 2010, and I strongly encourage anyone with questions or concerns about the safety of MR imaging for patients with implanted cardiac devices (Dr. Russo correctly points out that CMS’ restriction fails to speak directly to implanted cardio-defibrillators, or ICD’s) to offer their comments to CMS.

The full explanation of the current restrictions on MR imaging of pacemaker patients (also aneurysm clip patients, and pregnant patients), as well as the instructions for reviewing other public comments or submitting your own, can be found here.

Tobias Gilk, President & MRI Safety Director
Mednovus, Inc.

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2 thoughts on “CMS Asked To Review MRI For Pacemaker Patient Exclusion

  1. cornelia van soest

    I need to have an MRI made of my back lower L and SE area.However
    I had a Pacemaker installed in Oct 2009.Is there anyway of getting this
    done with specail MRI equipment.Pls adv

  2. Tobias Gilk Post author


    Yes, it may be possible, but there are a number of conditions that would need to be met. It would depend on how your body uses the pacer, that pacer’s ‘resilience’ to magnetic interference, the type of MRI scanner that would be used, and the specific settings for your exam.

    You might want to read a recent post on the blog about the new Medtronic pacemaker that was designed to allow patients to receive MRI exams ( Not that I’m suggesting that you seek to have your current pacemaker replaced before it’s due, but that article describes some of the considerations and precautions that are recommended for MRI exams for patients with pacemakers.

    Apart from the technical feasibility (many, perhaps even most, pacemaker patients could likely get safe MR exams, following the conditions identified), there is the separate question of whether your health plan would cover the exam and the special provisions that it should involve because you have a pacer.

    Please let us know how this turns out after you have a chance to talk with your cardiologist.


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