Aurora St. Luke’s first in southeastern Wisconsin to offer MRI-safe cardioverter defibrillators

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Milwaukee-based Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center is the first hospital in southeastern Wisconsin to implant new implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) systems in patients that are safe for MRI scans.

Two patients received the new Evera MRI SureScan ICD System from Medtronic, which were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Sept.14, following multiple months of clinical trial periods. Aurora St. Luke’s was one of a select number of sites in the world to participate in the clinical trial.

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Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center is the first hospital in southeastern Wisconsin to implant new implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) systems in patients that are safe for MRI scans.

An ICD is a small, implantable heart device that is placed under the skin, typically just below the collarbone on the left side of the chest. They are normally recommended for patients at risk for a life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia or sudden cardiac arrest. ICDs help to continuously monitor the heart rate and deliver an electrical signal to correct a life-threatening heart rate, if detected.

Until recently, patients with ICDs have not been able to receive MRI scans because of potential interactions between the MRI and the device leading to device malfunction. This could be a major limitation, however, since data shows that more than one-third of patients with ICDs are likely to need an MRI in their lifetime.

MRIs are among the most commonly used imaging tests used for a wide range of diagnoses including conditions such as stroke, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and muscle, bone and back pain, all which are prevalent among older adults.

Aurora says the new MRI-safe ICDs will ensure better access to the latest in medical imaging for patients who previously were not candidates for MRI scanning due to their defibrillator.

“Patients who require ICDs are often older adults with other serious medical conditions that may need an MRI for diagnosis,” said Dr. Vikram Nangia, a cardiologist with Aurora Health Care who helped to spearhead both the clinical trial and the first implants. “This game-changing technology will help our team at Aurora St. Luke’s more effectively treat patients at high risk for cardiac arrest and enable patients to have better access to MRIs, allowing us to provide even higher levels of care.”

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