New MRI-Safe Pacemaker Available At Tulsa Hospital

Thursday, April 14th 2011, 5:10 pm
By: News On 6

Dan Bewley, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- A Tulsa hospital says it's found a way for people needing pacemakers to not worry about getting an MRI.

For years, patients with pacemakers have been told to avoid the MRI machine, but doctors at Saint John Medical Center say that worry could be over.

"I don't even know it's there, I can feel it where it is right now," Dwight Bowles, an Owasso resident, said.

Dwight Bowles is 16 days removed from having a pacemaker implanted in his chest. When he first learned he needed a pacemaker Bowles says he was more worried about whether it would prevent him from getting an MRI in the future.

A Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine uses a powerful magnet to give doctors a look at a patient's muscles, ligaments, or other soft tissues. A pacemaker and a magnet usually don't mix, but the pacemaker Bowles had implanted is on the cutting edge of technology.

"Well, it does the same thing any pacemaker does," Dr. Mark Milton, with St. John Medical Center.

Dr. Mark Milton performed Bowles' surgery. He says this half-dollar sized pacemaker is different than the others. The Medtronic Revo MRI Pacing System works with MRI machines and patients who wear them don't need to worry when they get a scan.

"They've taken the can and they've removed all the ferromagnetic components to make it less sensitive to magnetism," Dr. Milton said. "They have taken the leads and they've recoiled them and designed them in a way that they don't serve as an antenna for the energy delivered by the MRI scan."

St. John Medical Center was the first hospital in Tulsa to perform that procedure and Dwight was the first person to receive that implant and Dr. Milton hopes that particular pacemaker becomes the pacemaker of choice.

"Medical technology is a gift of God, man," Bowles said.

Bowles says his mind is at ease now and he's thankful the technology was developed just when he needed it most.

"Lucky, very, very blessed and fortunate to have come along at just the right time," he said.