Dylan Frigo, 11, his mother, Lauren, and brother, Marcus, 13, who has a paediatric pacemaker compatible with MRI scans.
Marcus sets the pace on MRI use for heart kids
Surgeons at Southern Health’s MonashHeart have become the first in Australia to implant a paediatric pacemaker compatible with MRI scans.
The Medtronic EnRhythm MRI™ SureScan™ pacing system was implanted in Marcus Frigo, 13.
Marcus has Marfan syndrome, the most serious complications of which are the defects of the heart valves and aorta.
It may also affect the lungs, eyes, the dural sac surrounding the spinal cord, skeleton and the hard palate.
Marcus also has a twisted leg requiring ongoing MRI scans.
Southern Health Paediatric Cardiac Surgeon Andrew Cochrane said studies had shown commonly-used Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners could interrupt or withhold pacing therapy, which may be hazardous and possibly life-threatening and/or cause damage to the device.
‘Regulatory agencies worldwide, including the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists, recommend against MRI scans for individuals with implantable cardiac devices.
This means patients are regularly denied access to an MRI scan to determine the cause of a clinical issue and must use less effective diagnostic methods because they have a pacemaker,’ Dr Cochrane said.
‘This new technology includes modified hardware to minimise the level of energy transmitted through the lead/device connection point.’
The pacemaker also includes a new feature that can be programmed ‘on’ before an MRI scan to eliminate the impact of MRI-generated electrical noise, which can prevent necessary pacing therapy or cause the device to oversense and deliver unnecessary pacing therapy.
When the feature is on, the device’s data collection and monitoring functions are temporarily suspended, while allowing the device to continue providing asynchronous pacing if needed.
The device and leads also contain radiopaque marks, viewable via X-ray, to indicate that the system is MRI-compatible.
New data shows patients implanted with the new technology experienced no complications related to the use of MRI.