People with new MRI-safe pacemakers can keep any electro-magnetic device, including a mobile phone, in their shirt pockets, and can undergo Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans without worrying about magnetic reactions.
The new pacemaker has been developed by US-based Medtronic, one of world's largest medical technology companies, and was made available in India from January.
"The SureScan is the first MRI-safe pacemaker. Now people, who have implanted these pacemakers, no longer need to take precautions during lightning and worry about mobile phones and high voltages," Anil Mishra, consultant cardiologist of B.M. Birla Heart Research Centre here, said Thursday.
Besides, they will have no problems in undergoing MRI scans, he said, noting that older pacemakers, when brought under the strong magnetic field of the MRI, developed mechanical and electrical malfunctions that not only damaged the devices but also adversely affected the patients.
MRI is the one of the most effective diagnosis tool for any disorder of the brain, spine and spinal cord, and according to Mishra, many people have to undergo this diagnostic process sometime in their lives.
"Every year nearly a million pacemakers are implanted in patients across the world, out of which 50-75 percent need an MRI during the lifetime of their devices," he said.
Mishra also said Kolkata is the first Indian city where a SureScan pacemaker has been implanted.
"We have successfully implanted this US' Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved device in a 74-year-old man in Kolkata Jan 28. The man is recovering fast. I checked with all doctors and hospitals in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and other Indian cities and found that we are the first Indian city to use this device," he said.
The cardiologist said the implantation of the device requires no extra medical skills, but the pacemaker is more expensive.
"This device costs around Rs.250,000, which is about Rs 35,000 more than ordinary ones. But if we consider its advantages, then I am sure patients will prefer this device to ordinary ones," Mishra said.