Medical Imaging Safety Inadequate, Says NCOA

22 February 2010 (Last Updated February 22nd, 2010 18:30)

Communication about the safety of medical imaging for patients with electronic implantable devices is often inadequate, a new survey has found. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) survey makes clear that older adults with electronic implantable devices such as pacemakers need better in

Communication about the safety of medical imaging for patients with electronic implantable devices is often inadequate, a new survey has found.

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) survey makes clear that older adults with electronic implantable devices such as pacemakers need better information on the benefits and risks of medical imaging.

Over 90% of physicians agreed that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is contraindicated and may be risky for patients with certain electronic implantable devices such as pacemakers, and very few will order MRIs for these patients, the survey found.

After the age of 65, a person's chance of needing medical imaging doubles, and between 50% and 75% of patients with electronic implantable devices will likely need medical imaging over their device's lifetime.

Three in ten electronic implantable device patients have had an MRI despite the risks, and of these 20% reported experiencing problems with their device afterwards, the survey found.

The survey evaluated healthcare provider use of guidelines from the American College of Cardiology, the American College of Radiology and the American Heart Association for MRI use in patients with electronic implantable devices.

Nearly all healthcare providers surveyed (98%) support more education on medical imaging and electronic implantable devices to help ensure awareness of critical guidelines.