1.5-T MRI Exams Safe for Patients with Some Cardiac Implantable Electronic Devices

Atlanta-Based Study Reveals Promising Results When Multidisciplinary Team Is in Place

Leesburg, VA, September 19, 2016—Patients with some cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs) can safely undergo MRI, a team of Atlanta-based radiologists and researchers reported.

A study designed to evaluate the safety and diagnostic utility of 1.5-T MRI examinations of patients with conventional and MRI-conditional CIEDs concluded that the procedure is safe when a multidisciplinary workflow is in place. The results are reported in the article “Safety and Quality of 1.5-T MRI in Patients With Conventional and MRI-Conditional Cardiac Implantable Electronic Devices After Implementation of a Standardized Protocol,” published in the September 2016 issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

While careful evaluation and monitoring of patients with implanted cardiac devices is required before, during and after an MRI examination, the procedure is safe, said study co-author Courtney Coursey Moreno, a radiologist with the department of radiology and imaging sciences at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.

The study authors performed 113 MRI examinations on patients with CIEDs including 74 with pacemakers (60 conventional, 14 MRI conditional); and 39 implantable cardiac defibrillators. Device reprogramming was required before MRI for 62.8% of patients (71/113), and artifacts or objects related to CIEDs were described in 3.5% of MRI reports (4/113) and were present only when the pulse generator was included in the field of view.

An estimated 400,000 pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators are implanted each year in patients in the United States, and more than 3 million Americans are living with such a CIED [1]. Many individuals with CIEDs (more than 50% by some estimates) have an indication for MRI during the lifetime of the device [2].


  1. BBuch E, Boyle NG, Belott PH. Pacemaker and defibrillator lead extraction. Circulation 2011; 123:e378–e380
  2. Kalin R, Stanton MS. Current clinical issue for MRI scanning of pacemaker and defibrillator patients. Pacing Clin Electrophysiol 2005; 28:326–328

Founded in 1900, ARRS is the first and oldest radiology society in the United States, and is an international forum for progress in radiology. The Society's mission is to improve health through a community committed to advancing knowledge and skills in radiology. ARRS achieves its mission through an annual scientific and educational meeting, publication of the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR) and InPractice magazine, topical symposia and webinars, and print and online educational materials. ARRS is located in Leesburg, VA.