If Kim Fox needs to have an MRI some day, she can, even though she has a pacemaker.
Fox, 40, of Grand Rivers, recently received the first MRI-safe pacemaker at Western Baptist Hospital.
MRI — magnetic resonance imaging — is a commonly used diagnostic tool that allows physicians to explore the inner workings of the body. It can uncover stroke damage, assess heart problems and even detect cancer in its earliest stages. Also, its magnetic field could interfere with a pacemaker’s function, so people with pacemakers couldn’t have the test — until now, with a new kind of pacemaker, they can.
After feeling light-headed and dizzy, Fox saw cardiologist Dr. John Broadbent, who determined her heartbeat was alternating between slow and fast beats, a condition that can be corrected with a pacemaker.
Broadbent told her she would be the first Western Baptist patient to get the MRI-safe pacemaker.
“Clearly, now and going forward, MRI is one of our most accurate and safe imaging modalities,” Broadbent said. “With this type of pacemaker, it will be available for her, should she need it.”
Melvin Croft, supervisor of the cardiac cath lab at Western Baptist, said he expects an increase in the MRI-safe pacemakers. “I think the MRI-safe pacemakers will be the norm for first-time pacemaker implants,” Croft said.
Fox said she is thankful the pacemaker was available to her.
“One of the reasons I chose Western Baptist is because I heard good things about the quality of care,” Fox said.
“It’s a benefit to me because people with pacemakers can’t have an MRI,” she said. “It’s highly likely I will have to have an MRI in the future.”