Test / Diagnostic Procedure: MRI for Patients with Pacemaker and Implantable Defibrillators

At OneWelbeck we are one of the few facilities in the country that can offer MRI scans to patients with pacemakers and implantable defibrillators. We have built up considerable expertise and now scan patients each Wednesday with almost all types of cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators.

To book offline, call our Imaging & Diagnostics centre directly on: 02036532001

Enquiries: bookings.diagnostics@onewelbeck.com

Why do patients with pacemakers often struggle to get MRI scans?

People with pacemakers often find it difficult to access MRI scans because historically pacemakers were not designed to go into MRI scanner, and therefore people with older devices were told they could not have MRI scans due to safety concerns. This would mean that patients would either have to have alternative scans (such as CT), which were less able to answer the clinical question, or patients would have to undergo invasive procedures including biopsies.

In the last 15 years however, device manufacturers have made pacemakers and implantable cardiac defibrillators that are designed to be safe to be scanned. However, almost half the hospitals in the UK will not scan patients even with these newer devices because they require additional steps to be undertaken, including reprogramming of the pacemakers for the MRI and careful monitoring during the scan.

Alongside this, we also now know that providing careful safety protocols are followed, even patients with older non-MRI conditional devices can undergo scans at low risk. There are however very few hospitals in the UK who will scan patients with these devices.

We have built up considerable expertise and now scan patients with almost all types of cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators here at OneWelbeck.

What makes the MRI service at OneWelbeck unique?

We have a regular weekly specialist list for scanning patients with pacemakers and defibrillators. This is lead by Professor Charlotte Manisty (Consultant Cardiologist), supported cardiac physiologists and radiographers who are trained experts in scanning devices and are all present for the list.

Professor Manisty is the chair of the UK working group on cardiac device MRI and has supervised over 1400 scans over the last 10 years, and has published safety studies and regularly lectures internationally on the subject. She is now recognized as an international leader in this area, has more experience than anyone else in the UK with scanning pacemaker patients.

What is the patient pathway?

If you have a pacemaker and require an MRI scan, we would need a normal MRI referral from your specialist or GP, and we also require information about your pacemaker/defibrillator including the manufacturer and model of the device and leads. This information must be provided before we can accept the booking; details will be on your pacemaker card, or we can obtain the information from your usual pacemaker clinic or cardiologist.

On the day of the scan we ask you to arrive early to have your device checked and reprogrammed to make it safe to enter the scanner. This is similar to a normal pacemaker check. The MRI scan itself takes no longer than a usual MRI scan (the duration depends on the nature of the scan), but you will be carefully monitored throughout, with our expert team present.

After the scan we will return your pacemaker to its usual settings and there will be no need for any additional follow-up.

Professor Manisty conducts MRI scans on Wednesday afternoons, and also sees patients in her general cardiology outpatient clinics on Wednesdays and Fridays at OneWelbeck Heart Health.

For further information on MRI for pacemaker patients, please visit the MRI My Pacemaker website.



Health Insurance

This service or treatment is generally covered by most health insurance policies. You are responsible for checking your insurance policy cover, and you may need a referral letter. Check which insurance companies are covered.


Doctor Referral Only

You will generally need to get a referral letter from your NHS GP, Private GP, or other doctor to access this service or treatment. Find out more including how we can assist you


Self-Pay Available

This treatment is available for self-paying users. If you would like to see more information on pricing visit our pricing and payments page.