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Montefiore Introduces New Pacemaker Compatible with Magnetic Resonance Imaging

New Pacing System is a Major Technological Advance

New York, NY (February 18, 2011) -- Montefiore is among the first medical centers in New York City to offer a pacemaker designed, tested and FDA approved for safe use in the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) environment.  The breakthrough technology makes it possible for patients with implantable pacemakers to undergo MRI scans.

Today, an estimated one million Americans have pacemakers, and about 200,000 new ones are implanted every year.  Prior to the release of this new technology, patients implanted with pacemakers could not undergo MRI scanning. The powerful magnetic fields used by MRI scanners have the potential to interfere with pacemaker operation, damage system components or even induce lethal arrhythmia.    The new system allows patients to safely undergo MRI scans above and below the thorax.

"This new pacing system is a major technological advance," says Andrew Krumerman, MD, Cardiac Electrophysiologist and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center. "Patients receiving pacemaker implants will no longer be restricted from undergoing Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)."

In 1958, the world's first transvenous pacemaker system was developed and used at Montefiore Medical Center by cardiac surgeon, Seymour Furman, MD, to restart a stopped heart during surgery and keep it beating until the normal rhythm returned. Over time, the device became portable and soon became implantable. 

"The availability of new pacemaker technology to allow patients to undergo testing such as MRI is evidence of Montefiore's continued commitment to technological advances, patient safety and care," adds Dr. Krumerman.

The technology, developed by Medtronic (NYSE: MEDT), is called the Revo MRIT SureScan® pacing system.