[MRI with pacemaker (no ICD) question]

Author: Cindy Hughes (63.168.198.---)

Date: 11-26-02 13:10

I have HOCM along with A-fib. I have a dual chamber pacemaker which has been turned way down since my successful alcohol ablation in July. Last week, I took a nasty fall and appear to have "blown out" my left knee. I saw an orthopedic surgeon today who suggested an MRI. I told him about the pacemaker, and that I didn't "use" it anymore but he said there's more to it than that and he was sure it couldn't be done. I certainly want to avoid surgery but am also in a fair amount of pain and hate the idea of waiting a month to see how it feels. If I have a serious tear, it could continue to cause problems after the pain has subsided. (Plan B for diagnosis - the needle & dye method which he says is complicated because I take Coumadin).

My question is -- does anyone know whether the "No MRI" really applies to pacemakers if they are not turned on? Is it just interference with pacer operation or can it harm the patient? I've read that the strong magnetic pull can be hazardous to someone with an ICD but am not sure about the pacemaker.

If anyone has any knowlege to share, I'd appreciate it.



[Re: MRI with pacemaker (no ICD) question]

Author: Sarah B. Board Moderator (12.144.99.---)

Date: 11-26-02 13:27

Dear Cindy,

I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the bottom line is that you have a metal box in your chest and the MRI WILL PULL IT OUT --or at least try very, very hard to do so.

You can't have an MRI unless you get the pacemaker taken out first. Period.

It sounds like using crutches and lots of pain medication would be your safest option right now.

Coumadin makes surgery tricky too. You would need to go on heparin for three weeks till a couple days before surgery and then resume heparin for a month or so, then back to coumadin.

take care, and take it easy as much as you can,



[Re: MRI with pacemaker (no ICD) question]

Author: Erica (---.atlnga1.dsl-verizon.net)

Date: 11-26-02 13:53

Dear Cindy ... I am sorry to hear about your unfortunate fall and I am so sorry you are in so much dicomfort! Please know you are included in my thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery, and a happy thanksgiving! Please try to smile : )


Erica Stolzenberg


[Re: MRI with pacemaker (no ICD) question]

Author: Chris Brown (209.77.217.---)

Date: 11-26-02 14:20


I also have a-fib, Dual mode pacer, and am on coumadin.

I am sorry to hear about your fall. My thoughts and prayers are with you also. I fell down the stairs 2 nights a go, all I got was a bruised toe and ego, And then my wife fell down the stairs last night, she bruised her arm. I think their is something in the air.

Take Care



[Re: MRI with pacemaker (no ICD) question]

Author: Greg (208.187.247.---)

Date: 11-26-02 14:30

Hey there I have an ICD and as others have noted there is no way to have an MRI with it implanted -

I too have "blown out my knee" this usually refers to tearing your ACL - Is that what your Doc is thinking?

Both my Orthopod and my PT independently came to the same conclusion that I'd torn the ACL simply through knee manipulation - I saw the Orthopod when it was still swollen and he was tentative but once the swelling was down the PT was certain and on my followup with the Orthopod he's sticking to his original diagnosis -

The truth will be told on 12-11 - that's when I'm scheduled for ACL replacemet - lots of fun

best of luck



[Re: MRI with pacemaker (no ICD) question]

Author: Bryan (---.bos.east.verizon.net)

Date: 11-26-02 22:44

I injured my knee about a year and a half ago. I was not able to get an MRI due to my ICD and instead they performed an Arthrogram. Its kind of like a cath but its done on your knee. Heres the a site that explains it.. maybe it can be an option... hope it helps



[Re: MRI with pacemaker (no ICD) question]

Author: Cindy Hughes (63.168.198.---)

Date: 12-03-02 12:49

Thanks to all who responded for the kind thoughts, prayers and helpful info. Looks like I'm better off to wait and see for a few weeks. A bumb knee's a heck of a lot better than the alternatives you describe. I really appreciate the information, though.

Greg - best wishes for your surgery next week.