Procedures that may affect your device
The following medical and dental procedures can affect your implanted device and/or injure you. If you must have any of these procedures, be sure to talk with your heart specialist and the doctor performing the procedure about what can be done to protect you and your device.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
An MRI is a diagnostic test that uses a powerful magnet and radio waves to produce images of the human body. People with pacemakers often need magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), but it is sometimes not possible because the magnetic fields could damage certain device. You may be able to have an MRI scan if you have a Boston Scientific ImageReady MR Conditional pacing system. Talk to your physician about your particular pacemaker.
If your pacemaker is not compatible with MRI, you should not have the MRI. Always ask your doctor to make sure that you are able to have this scan. Hospitals keep MRI equipment in rooms marked with signs that say that magnets are inside. Do not go inside these rooms unless your physician has confirmed that you are cleared to have an MRI.
Talk to your doctor before having these procedures
Diathermy should not be performed as it uses an electrical field to apply heat to tissues in the body and could damage your device or injure you.
Electrocautery is used during surgical procedures to stop vessels from bleeding. Ask your doctor before undergoing this procedure.
Electrolysis and Thermolysis
These dermatology or hair removal procedures pass an electrical current into the skin. Talk with your heart doctor before having either of these treatments.
Typically used in medical emergencies, this procedure uses external equipment to deliver an electrical shock to your heart to restore a rapid and irregular heart rate to a normal rhythm. External defibrillation can affect your device, but can still be performed if necessary. Be sure to contact your physician as soon as possible if you receive external defibrillation to verify that your device is functioning properly.
Used to break up stones in the urinary tract, such as kidney stones, lithotripsy can damage your device if certain precautions are not taken.
Therapeutic radiation treatment for cancer
This procedure for cancer can affect your device and will require special precautions. If you need radiation treatment, talk with your heart doctor and the doctor performing the procedure.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) Unit
This device prescribed by physicians or chiropractors to control chronic pain can affect your device.
Procedures that will not affect your pacemaker
Most medical and dental procedures will not affect your device. Some examples include:
- Dental drills and cleaning equipment
- Diagnostic X-rays
- Diagnostic ultrasound procedures
Note: Mammograms will not interfere with your pacemaker. However, your pacemaker could be damaged if it gets compressed in the mammogram machine. Make sure the doctor or technician knows you have an implanted device.
- EKG machines
- CT scans
Talk to your doctor
If you need medical or dental treatment, tell your dentist or doctor you have a pacemaker and show them your Medical Device Implant Card. Your care team can contact your heart specialist and work together to find a treatment that works best for you and your device.