Yes We Scan! ICDs and MRIs

Why MRI is Important:

Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, is one of the most important tools of modern medicine.  MRIs can be used to evaluate almost every kind of medical issue, from brain tumors to twisted ankles.  They provide clear images, and in some instances, also provide superior visualization.  Because they do not expose the imaging subject to radiation, they are generally preferred over CT scans, even when the two scans would reveal the same information.

MRI in HCM:

In the last several years, MRI has also become an important tool in the evaluation of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).  The images resulting from MRI have proven superior in visualizing the size and structure of the heart and, when used with a contrast agent, MRIs are able to show the extent of scarring in the HCM heart.

MRI Hasn’t Been an Option for Many of Us:

MRI has been unavailable to those of us who have an implantable defibrillator or ICD to in order to protect us from sudden cardiac arrest.  Until recently, having an ICD was an absolute contraindication to MRI.  Newer MRI-safe ICD systems have been in use for the last few years, but that still leaves in place the contraindication for those of us who have older ICD units in place.  That problem is that older lead systems that were implanted along with old, non-MR compatible generators may be incompatible with the newer MR compatible technology, and it may not be possible to simply hook up these old leads to a new MRI compatible generator.  And, it is not as easy as you might think to extract old leads.  Scar tissue grows around these leads, making their removal an intricate and dangerous procedure that is best done only in carefully controlled circumstances by highly specialized physicians. Continue reading “Yes We Scan! ICDs and MRIs”

Sci-Fi or Reality? ICDs Using Light

 

Could your next implantable defibrillator use a light beam instead of electricity to restore a normal heart rhythm?  According to a recent study, this might just become reality some day.

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation was able to use optogenetics — which involves embedding light-sensitive proteins in living tissue — to terminate ventricular arrhythmias in the hearts of mice.  Scientists at Johns Hopkins then created a computer simulation of the human heart to figure out if this technology could work on humans as well.

Check out this video for interviews with the researchers and further explanations of the study.  Though still highly experimental, this could be the technology of the future.

Stay tuned……

New Model for Predicting SCA?

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Doctors at the University of Pennsylvania have created a new model which they say can predict the risk of sudden cardiac arrest in people without known heart disease.   According to the article, published recently in Circulation, low levels of albumin, a protein commonly tested in routine blood panels, is a novel risk factor among the twelve factors identified.  This article in Cardiac Rhythm News offers more details.