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Dignity Health Mercy Gilbert Medical Center is the first Arizona hospital to utilize a new technology allowing individuals with an implantable cardiac defibrillator (or ICD) to safely undergo an MRI. Until now, individuals with ICDs were unable to take advantage of this valuable imaging tool due to potential interactions with the defibrillator.
Dr. Drory Tendler, Medical Director of Mercy Gilbert’s Cardiac Electrophysiology Department and Director of Southwest EP Clinic, surgically implanted the first MRI compatible ICD in Arizona in October 2015. Developed by Medtronic, this special defibrillator is the first FDA-approved implantable cardiac defibrillator for use with magnetic resonance imaging. An ICD is a device that is implanted in individuals who are at high risk for dangerous cardiac arrhythmias that can cause sudden death. This device continually monitors the heart rhythm and can quickly convert these dangerous arrhythmias with either pacing maneuvers or a small shock to help restore the normal rhythm.
Dr. Tendler’s first patient was referred to him by Dr. Gautam Kedia and his partners Dr. B. Markabawi and Dr. F. Bahadur of Lifetime Cardiology in Gilbert, AZ. They recognized the need for this type of ICD, as the patient had a weakened heart, but also suffered from advanced arthritis that required frequent MRI testing.
“Individuals with chronic medical conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or advanced arthritic conditions, need MRI imaging over time to provide adequate monitoring and treatment,” says Dr. Tendler. “If they also develop a cardiac condition that requires an ICD, they would definitely want a device that is MRI compatible.”
Dr. Tendler now estimates he sees at least two patients a month who could benefit from an MRI-compatible ICD.
“This technology is an important breakthrough in our field and something we’ve been anticipating for nearly 20 years. It will make a big impact on a lot of patients,” says Dr. Tendler.