Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a valuable diagnostic method for many cardiovascular diseases. To date, patients with pacemakers are contra-indicated for cardiac MRI exams due to several effects that can occur during the MRI procedure: a) heating of the lead-tip, and b) less hazardous sensing errors and device malfunctions. Almost all measurements on MRI pacemaker compatibility have been conducted on classic 1.5 or 3T cylindrical whole-body MRI systems. In contrast, this study focused on the use of a high field open MRI (HFO) system due to its advantageous properties of RF fields which are commonly made responsible for the induction of lead heating.
As of today, the use of MRI procedures on patients with implanted cardiac pacemakers is prohibited due to safety issues. The implants can interact with the RF fields of the MRI device. The most hazardous effect is heating at the tip of the lead, less dangerous are sensing errors and malfunctions of the devices, because they disappear completely after the procedure. The majority of the previous studies used classic cylindrical whole-body MRI systems. The influence of different alignments of the pacemaker/lead system and the RF fields were evaluated by comparing temperature changes occurring in a cylindrical device with the effects induced in a high field open MRI (HFO) system.