MRI Conditional Device

I was scheduled to have an MRI at my local hospital in preparation for surgergy for avascular necrosis of the shoulder which causes me intense pain spasms 20-30 minutes long up to 4 times a day.  I'm basically homebound because of this.  I've been working on getting shoulder replacement surgery for 3 years and the surgeon finally ordered an MRI so I could have the surgery.  Unfortunately, I had to have a pacemaker implanted 2 weeks ago and the hospital says they won't do the MRI because of the pacemaker even though it's MRI Conditional and online research says they could do it but they just have to go through special steps.  I can't take this agony in my shoulder much longer and have even considered suicide to escape the daily misery.  Is there anything else that can be done besides an MRI to provide my surgeon with the information he needs to perform surgery?  I guess it's what I get for living in a rural area where the medical community refuses to come into the 21st century.


"Special steps"

by AgentX86 - 2019-06-13 19:25:10

If the hospital has problems with the "special steps" needed for your MRI, I wouldn't trust them with my surgery OR cardiology needs. There has to be another choice, even if it means a little travel.


by Tracey_E - 2019-06-14 08:32:06

It's a little misleading when they say a pacer is mri safe. As you learned, some places still won't do it. The pacemaker has to to be put in a different mode for the duration of the test and not all places are set up to do that. And some places can/will safely do one with a pacer that is not specifically labeled mri safe. Most pacers less than 10 years old are safe for mri.

First thing to do is ask the doctor doing the shoulder surgery what tests they require. I've been paced 25 years so mri is out of the question for me, so far anything that has cropped up we've gotten by with ct and ultrasound. If they still want the mri, then between the two of you you'll have to find a facility that can handle the mri.

And just a heads up, this may come up again with the surgery itself. You may need to have it done at a larger facility because once again, the pacer will need to be put in a different mode for surgery. It's not a big deal, and it should be less hassle than an mri, but it's worth asking the question in advance so everyone is on the same page.

Have Pacemaker--Will Travel

by Gotrhythm - 2019-06-15 20:54:12

I'm adding my two cents to underscore what AgentX and Tracey said.

An MRI on an MRI compliant pacemaker is just not that big a deal any more. Nor, is getting on a plane and going to a major medical center in the US.

If that hospital can't give you the care you need, go somewhere else. Getting the care you need trumps convenience. If you'd rather your life be over than continue in pain, then care trumps costs too.

MRI and Pacemaker

by Selwyn - 2019-06-16 12:56:09

I don't have an MRI safe pacemaker, yet my cardiologist has said ( as mentioned above) that with special settings, there are ways around the problem should I need an MRI ( I have had numerous imaging from isotope scans to CTs, ultrasounds).

I come from an era before MRI. What did the surgeons do in the past prior to MRI, as your condition is not new to medical science?

In general, MRIs are best for soft tissue images, and CTs for bones. You problem is bony! 

I would definately be wanting a second opinion from a larger centre- when you choose a centre, it should have a pacemaker department and cardiologist.

It sounds terrible that your life is so affected. There are specialised pain clinics. Have you  considered going to such a clinic whilst you are getting your cardiological/orthopaedic liaison sorted?  

Very specialist medical services are usually concentrated around big cities with universities. You must be prepared to travel. It is worth it.  Lucky for me, I live where the regional cardiology centre of excellence is located, however, when I was an inpatient, people were coming from quite far a field to obtain specialist health care.  Some centres even have family accommodation attached so that relatives can be near to their loved ones. 

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Member Quotes

My eight year old son had a pacemaker since he was 6 months old. He does very well, plays soccer, baseball, and rides his bike. I am so glad he is not ashamed of his pacemaker. He will proudly show his "battery" to anyone.