Magnetic resonance imaging in patients with temporary external pacemakers

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AIMS: To describe safety and feasibility of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in patients with transvenous temporary external pacemakers and whether artefacts affect the diagnostic image quality during cardiac MRI.

METHODS AND RESULTS: We reviewed records of all patients treated with temporary external pacing between 2016 and 2020 at a tertiary centre. Temporary pacing was established using a transvenous standard active fixation pacing lead inserted percutaneously and connected to a MRI-conditional pacemaker taped to the skin. All patients undergoing cardiac or non-cardiac MRI during temporary transvenous pacing were identified. Before MRI, devices were programmed according to guidelines for permanent pacemakers, and patients were monitored with continuous electrocardiogram during MRI. Of 827 consecutive patients receiving a temporary external pacemaker, a total of 44 (5%) patients underwent MRI (mean age 71 years, 13 [30%] females). Cardiac MRI was performed in 22 (50%) patients, while MRI of cerebrum, spine, and other regions was performed in the remaining patients. Median time from implantation of the temporary device to MRI was 6 (3-11) days. During MRI, we observed no device-related malfunction or arrhythmia. Nor did we detect any change in lead sensing, impedance, or pacing threshold. We observed no artefacts from the lead or pacemaker compromising the diagnostic image quality of cardiac MRI. MRI provided information to guide the clinical management in all cases.

CONCLUSION: MRI is feasible and safe in patients with temporary external pacing established with a regular MRI-conditional pacemaker and a standard active fixation lead. No artefacts compromised the diagnostic image quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1960-1966
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Aged
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac/diagnostic imaging
  • Artifacts
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods
  • Male
  • Pacemaker, Artificial/adverse effects


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