MRI’s w/ “SureScan MRI” Medtronic PM


Who on here has had MRIs since PM? Was it difficult or challenging to make the appointment? How was the MRI? I'd like your feedback! 
I'd also like to share what I know (so far) for others. I've had multiple MRIs of my brain & ankle, pre-pacemaker. 

42yo, got PM 4/2019. I'm in the mid-Atlantic region in the USA. Have a Medtronic SureScan MRI PM, I was told casually that this meant I could still get MRIs. I have a LOT of idiopathic "stuff," from Sick Sinus Syndrome to MANY musculoskeletal & nerve issues (started seeing doctors around 20yo, but wasn't taken seriously until I hit late 30s.)

I was being run in circles until I called the toll-free number on my card & they emailed me a list of hospitals that could do it, only FOUR locations in the Baltimore metro area! (Folks, they can tell you a lot on that hotline! It's worth calling when you have questions.) 

Several of my diagnosed idiopathic conditions require MRI's. One is OCD in my Left ankle (Osteochondral Defect,) strongly suggested to have surgery 5 years ago. I couldn't be off my feet then; I put it off. I've lived with it; walking/hiking is my main form of exercise now that I'm not allowed to swim (pinched nerve in neck) but despite ankle braces & good shoes, I am in agony after walking any more than 2-3 miles now. (Also have an "unstable joint" in a toe, OW!) 

I bit the bullet & saw my foot & ankle specialist. He gave me a shot, which HELPS (& I'm a Baby!) I need a new MRI, it's been six years. I called Advanced Radiology & was told "we don't touch anybody with pacemakers, doesn't matter what kind." 

For those who didn't know (like me,) it's far more complicated than I was led to believe. Out of four spots, only one will take me (Hopkins wouldn't only b/c MRI was not requisitioned by a Hopkins doc, I don't have a doc there.) University of Maryland Hospital is the only one unless I want to go to DC (farther away than one would think by looking at a map.)

I now know that all MRI spots near me have to be done @ hospitals (I'm in a large urban area.) They have to have a Medtronic Rep there to turn the device off, a form filled out from my cardiologist, and a form filled out from the referring doctor. I'm not 100% pacemaker dependent (yet, apparently my condition often evoloves, yay,) so I'm not scared of it being off, nor am I scared of MRI machines (close your eyes, pretend you're at a club & the DJ is terrible. NBD, bad boots-in-the-dryer techno.)

I was told Medtronic is the biggest Pacemaker manufacturer, and yes, I'm aware that people before couldn't get an MRI at all... still, I'm curious about the experiences others have had. Is making an MRI appointment this convoluted for everyone with a pacemaker? And is there anything different during the MRI I should know about? I ❤️  my cardiologist, he's great, but I don't understand why this wasn't explained more to me. 

Thanks, Hope everyone is having a great day!






by AgentX86 - 2020-08-04 15:34:11

Yes, I had an MRI on my head last November (they didn't find anything  ;-). Yes, it was a PITA to get it done. I needed it after a seizure but the hospital I was taken to wouldn't touch me (an lied more than once). I was on vacation so tried to get it done after I got home.

The Neurologists in the hospital where I had my implant done wanted six months to see me after my seizure. I found another closer to home but he was affiliated with a different hospital so the two of them had to fight it out, too.

It took a month to get all the paperwork done. After all of the disclaimers and liability releases were signed, it only took a couple of days to get it done. The MRI took less than a half hour and that included finding the device tech to backup my settings, safe the PM, have the MRI, then find the device tech again.

All that BS for a nothing job. The Radiology tech said they do it all the time and never understood why anyone made such a big deal out of pacemaker patients. They knew exactly what the protocol was and wasted no time.

I was told when it was implanted that I couldn't go to an MRI-in-a-Box in the mall down the street but that any hospital would be able to do it.  HAH! They may be ABLE but WILLING is another story. I wish you luck.

MRI experience in the UK

by LondonAndy - 2020-08-05 17:26:00

I have had a Medtronic for 6 years now, and am 100% dependent.  I have had two MRIs - the first was a nightmare to organise (and this was in London about 4 years ago), but as Agent X86 says, it was straight-forward when I got there and no issues.  They had a technician put mine into basic mode before the scan, and put it back to normal afterwards.  But the second, about one year ago, was much more straight-forward to organise and again the same procedure was adopted.  I experienced no ill effects.

Thanks for the info!

by Original Cyndy - 2020-08-13 15:07:39

Wow, all this is very good to know. I've had many MRIs before--for a variety of reasons--and chose my PM type based partly on being able to get future MRIs. Overdue for a mammogram as a breast cancer survivor, I had petitioned my doc for the MRI version, which had previously been denied by insurance (because I wasn't "high risk," in spite of having had an extremely aggressive type of BC). Nope; they said, PM patients can get regular mammos.

Oh well; at least I'll be braced for the next time I need an MRI. (I close my eyes and pretend I'm having a spa treatment on the beach, lol.)

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