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How clear are MRIs for people with pacemakers?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be clear and unobscured for people with pacemakers. Researchers report that, for imaging the heart in patients with cardiac devices, using a wideband late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) technique – MRI augmented with a contrasting agent – for people with pacemakers or implanted cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) dramatically improves scar visualization and assessment.

MRI visualization is the best way to detect myocardial scarring in the heart, but the protocol has been especially challenging for people with pacemakers or ICDs. Implanted devices can cause hyperintensity (HI) artifacts – bright-white spotting – compromising the image and masking the scar tissue.

Whereas the metal in the pacemaker or ICD box causes the MRI frequency to drift outside of the useful range with standard LGE technique, “wideband” captures these frequencies, which would otherwise be filtered out.
 
This content originally appeared online at UCLA Health

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