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Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Patients with Implantable Cardiac Devices: A Review of Safety and Guidelines

Last updated: June 6, 2019
Project Number: RC1090-000
Product Line: Rapid Response
Research Type: Devices and Systems
Report Type: Summary with Critical Appraisal
Result type: Report

Question

  1. What is the evidence regarding the safety of performing magnetic resonance imaging on people with implantable cardiac defibrillators, loop recorders, or pacemakers?
  2. What are the evidence-based guidelines regarding performing magnetic resonance imaging on people with implantable cardiac defibrillators, loop recorders, or pacemakers?

Key Message

Two systematic reviews and 11 primary studies were identified when considering the safety of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations in patients with implanted cardiac electronic devices, including pacemaker, cardiac defibrillators, and loop recorders. The identified studies were for devices that were considered non-MRI-conditional or conventional. All identified publications were observational studies with small sample sizes. Few adverse events were reported, but some included palpitations and sensations near the device during the MRI scan. It may be difficult to generalize to the Canadian population as all of the studies were conducted outside of Canada and there may be variations on devices that are available from country-to-country.Evidence of limited quality from non-randomized observational studies suggested that patients with non-conditional or conventional implanted cardiac electronic devices generally have a low risk of adverse events. No evidence-informed guidelines were identified to mitigate risks in this patient population.