Northside Hospital-Forsyth has become the third hospital in Georgia to use a new technology.
The hospital announced that Aman Kakkar, cardiologist, had implanted Forsyth County's first MRI-conditional heart pacemaker on Feb. 23.
According to a news release, the Revo MRI SureScan pacing system, developed by Medtronic, is the first and only pacing system in the U.S. designed, tested and FDA-approved for use in a magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, environment.
In a statement, Skip Putnam, chief executive officer of Northside-Forsyth, noted the continued growth of the county and the expansion of the hospital's cardiology services.
"New technologies allow us to ensure that we are offering our patients the most state-of-the-art and comprehensive care," he said.
Pacemakers help regulate heart rate by emitting tiny electrical impulses to help the heart sustain a regular rhythm, according to the news release.
MRI allows physicians to more precisely evaluate human anatomy and disease processes through the use of computers and magnetic fields.
MRI had not been previously available for patients with implanted pacemakers because of serious damage the magnet could cause the device.
The new pacemaker is designed to work safely and effectively in an MRI environment.
"Half of all pacemaker patients require MRI at some time and seniors are twice as likely to need it," said Kakkar, noting the majority of pacemaker patients are 65 or older.
"This new device is very exciting because it allows physicians to prescribe MRI for patients who would not have been candidates with existing pacemakers," he said.
Last year, more than 130 pacemakers were implanted at Northside-Forsyth.
The new pacemaker is not recommended as a replacement for current pacemaker patients, but will be available to new patients.