Claustrophobia and MRI

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If you are claustrophobic or think you might be, here are some tips:

  1. Let your doctor know. He or she may prescribe a mild sedative to help you get through the test. If you do take one, don’t forget to bring someone along to drive you home.
  2. Inform the Radiology staff. The technologists who do the scanning work with patients all day and can talk you through the scan.
  3. During the scan keep your eyes closed. You can ask for a towel to put over your eyes. Breath normally. If you start feeling claustrophobic during the scan, talk to the technologist and let him or her know.
  4. Choose an open MRI. Open MRIs were initially designed for claustrophobic and overweight patients. You can read more about open MRI scans in this blog entry. Severely claustrophobic patients may need a sedative as well.

Keep in mind that there are a few MRI tests which won’t require your entire body to go into the scanner. These include MRI scans of the foot, ankle and knee.

Do you have any tips for getting through an MRI scan? What was your experience like? Leave your comments below.

open mri

Many patients find that a mild sedative is relaxing and
helpful in easing anxiety. Patients are not given heavy
sedation for MRI examinations, because it is very difficult to
monitor vital signs within the magnetic field around the MRI
scanner. If you wish to take a mild sedative for your examination,
you will need to discuss this with your referring
physician and obtain a prescription prior to the date of your
appointment. The imaging center cannot prescribe or
dispense medications to you. It is also important to note the
following when taking sedatives to relieve anxiety:
– Sedatives require time to produce their full effect on the
body and should be taken as prescribed by your pharmacist.
You may find it helpful to speak to the pharmacist
about your MRI exam so that he or she can give you
specific time(s) to take your medication. It is a good idea to
call the imaging center on the day of your appointment to
ensure that their schedule is running “on time” before
taking your sedative.
– Sedatives can make you tired and will impair your reflexes.
You cannot drive yourself to or from your appointment
when taking this type of medication. Some centers offer
free transportation services for patients that need this
assistance. Please notify the imaging center in advance so
they can ensure you receive prompt service from the
transportation provider.
– Sedatives may make it difficult to complete registration
forms and answer important questions about your medical
history. Some patients choose to complete this paperwork
before the appointment to avoid this inconvenience. Often
registration paperwork can be faxed or mailed to you prior
to the appointment, so you can bring the completed
paperwork with you on the day of your exam.

Some centers will allow you to listen to your favorite music
through headphones during the examination. Bring a CD
of something that you find relaxing with you to the
appointment. Listening to music will not inhibit your
ability to communicate with the technologist during the
scan; the music will be muted when the technologist is
speaking to you.

Some patients find it comforting to bring a friend or
family member into the room for support. If you plan to
do this, it is a good idea to have the imaging center
pre-screen your support person to ensure he or she has
no medical conditions that will prevent them from
accompanying you into the scan room. The support
person will be able to maintain physical contact (hold
hands or touch your arm) to reassure you of their
presence, but you won’t be able to talk with your support
person during the examination.
If there are no family members or friends available at your
appointment time, some centers can supply a staff
member to remain in the scan room with you. It is
important to notify the imaging center of this request in
advance, to ensure someone will be available to assist
when you need it.

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MR conditional devices is progress… and burden


Image Last year in November we find out about the launch on the market of the first MR conditional ICD. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised about this and without a doubt the availability of the MR conditional cardiac devices is a step in the right direction.

I knew of course about the availability of MR conditional pacemakers. During a number of years I was even involved in the evaluation and in the launch of MR compatible pacemakers, so, I took a step back and look at the entire picture…

Back in 2005 before the launch of the first MR Conditional pacemaker in the European Market, it was a real believe that this is a breakthrough in the Cardiac Pacing and it will radically change the practice making the MR conditional the new standard for pacemakers.

After 6-7 years we see that although there is progress, a lot of questions and issues are still coming making the entire process sometimes pretty complicate…

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St. Jude Medical Announces First Implant in Clinical Trial for Accent MRI Pacemaker and Tendril MRI Lead System

St. Jude Medical is about to find out whether what it claims is an “MRI-safe” pacemaker lives up to its name—the company has implanted its Accent MRI pacemaker with Tendril MRI leads in a clinical trial. The goal of the investigational device exemption (IDE) study is to determine if patients with these devices can safely undergo a full-body, high resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan if necessary.

St. Jude Medical, Inc.

MRI scans are the only reliable method of diagnosis for many diseases and conditions, which is why it is important for everyone to have access to them. Because they operate with high magnetic forces, they adversely can affect implanted devices. Approximately 1 million people are implanted with pacemakers worldwide, and approximately 300,000 of those patients could benefit from scans of the major organs and bones in the thoracic region of the body during the lifetime of their devices . Thus the Accent pacemaker—if successful in the trial and approved—could be a major asset to such patients.

“Because young pacemaker patients have a high likelihood of needing an MRI over their lifetime, and older pacemaker patients often have co-morbidities, they may have other conditions, which could benefit from MRI scans of internal organs or major bones and in particular may benefit from cardiac MRI scans,” said Raymond Schaerf, M.D., thoracic surgeon at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, Calif., who implanted the first pacemaker in the study. “Currently, there is no pacemaker available that allows for full-body MRI scans, which further assists physicians in the early diagnosis and treatment of certain diseases, such as cancer or stroke, as well as other medical conditions facing heart patients.”

The Accent/Tendril clinical trial is a randomized, clinical study that will take place at a maximum of 80 centers worldwide and will enroll approximately 800 patients. All patients in the study will be implanted with an Accent MRI Pacemaker and a Tendril MRI lead and be followed for 12 months post-implant to evaluate the acute and chronic performance of the system. A subset of patients will be randomized to receive an MRI after enrollment in the study.

The Accent pacemaker can transmit telemetry and algorithms wirelessly, leaving it vulnerable to possible hacking, a growing problem for wireless medical devices and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The issue took center stage last year after McAfee Labs assembled an elite team of hackers to attack embedded devices and a Type 1 diabetic Idaho man successfully manipulated an insulin pump he used. The FDA now is scrutinizing all wireless devices more closely before they are cleared or approved, while at the same time facing pressure from other government groups such as the House Energy and Commerce Committee to speed up approvals.

Eyes will be fixed on St. Jude, not only as the company adds wireless devices to its portfolio, but also as it tries to recover from questions about the safety of its heart devices. St. Jude has been struggling to reverse the negative attention garnered for the widespread failure of its Riata lead wires. The Tendril leads are coated with St. Jude’s patented Optim coating, as opposed to silicone, which is what caused the problems in the Riata leads.
St.Paul, Minn.-based St. Jude Medical develops cardiac rhythm management, atrial fibrillation, cardiovascular and neuromodulation products.

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Ultrasounds and MRIs Detect More Breast Cancer, Study Says

Health & Family

The breast cancer screening debate continues. A new study finds that adding ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) tests to annual mammogram screenings can increase cancer detection in women with higher-than-average risk of the disease.

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My Brain Doesn’t Quite Get the Message


Since April is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month and I happen to have M.S. I thought I would do a short blog on it.

I’m not going to go into a lot of technical details because others do that much better than I would and anyone can ‘Google’ on the web to find out that information.

For those that have no idea of what it is I will say simply that it is an ‘auto immune’ disease that affects the Central Nervous System and can affect the Brain or Spinal Cord.

I was diagnosed in 1991 finally! I say finally because for several years I had been back and forth to my primary physician complaining of severe fatigue, and then problems when I got overheated. I would get extremely weak and then get a horrific headache and have to lie down. I was having trouble with my memory and remembering certain…

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