At the time of implant, your team should tell you if you can have an MRI scan, based on your pacemaker design. Some pacemakers are easy to scan – they have been built for MRI. If this is the case, your device is “MRI conditional”. Older pacemaker or cardiac defibrillators may not have tested in an MRI environment (“legacy” devices), but they can still be scanned in the majority of cases with careful procedures, if the scan is necessary.
Doctors need to know what sort of device you have in order to plan your scan. There are a few simple ways to find out if your device can undergo MRI.
One key way is through the pacemaker registration card. The British Heart Rhythm Society recognised this needs to say if your device is MRI-conditional, and in January 2018 stated that all patients who receive a pacemaker or cardiac defibrillator should have it mentioned on their registration card. An example of the card and the symbol are below.
This is important. Patients and doctors can be unaware what model and make the device and leads are, and this makes it difficult to find out whether MRI can be performed safely. By putting this information on the registration card, patients can show doctors whether this is possible, making decision making easier and meaning patients are not denied MRI scans unnecessarily.