Magnetic resonance imaging safety in patients with cardiac implantable electronic devices

Eunice Yang, Masahito Suzuki, Saman Nazarian, Henry R. Halperin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


High strength magnetic and electric fields used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) render images with unmatched soft tissue contrast. These imaging attributes have made MRI an increasingly preferred diagnostic tool in many medical conditions. Initially there was substantial concern regarding the safety of performing these imaging studies in patients with cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs), which have the potential to be affected by the intense electric and magnetic fields of the MRI. More recently, there has been increasing evidence that MRI can be performed safely in patients with devices that have not been specifically labelled by regulatory agencies for use in an MRI environment (MRI nonconditional devices), which has allowed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to start providing reimbursement for MRIs of patients with MRI nonconditional devices. For CMS to reimburse scans, a rigorous protocol must be followed, which recognizes that there are still potential adverse effects that can be mitigated by appropriate procedures. In this review we will survey the initial experiences and efforts to understand the magnitude of risk for device malfunction and harm, as well as current efforts to minimize the potential risks of MRI effects on devices and leads (heating, device movement, lead dislodgement, and device malfunction, the latter including inhibition of pacing and generation of arrhythmias).

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTrends in Cardiovascular Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Cardiac devices
  • Cardiac implantable electronic device (CIED)
  • Implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD)
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)
  • MRI conditional devices
  • Magnetic resonance (MR)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Permanent pacemaker
  • Safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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