MRI and pacemakers: patient and clinician resources

Did you know that people with pacemakers and other devices are fifty times less likely to be offered a scan than people who don’t have one? This project helps to dispel the myths around pacemakers and MRIs and provides patients and clinicians with easy to understand information to transform their knowledge and the decisions that are made.

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‘The leaflet is immediately user friendly, appealing to all age and ethnicity groups. Easy to follow with simple step by step instructions. The videos brought the leaflet to life!’

Trudie Lobban, CEO, Arrhythmia Alliance

What we did and why

We worked with MRImyPacemaker to produce resources to help dispel the myth amongst patients and clinicians that people cannot have an MRI if they have a pacemaker, cardiac monitor or defibrillator.

Doctors have historically been worried that the powerful magnet in MRI machines can damage pacemakers and other similar devices, so patients with these implants have been told for many years that they cannot undergo MRI. Major technological developments have made MRI accessible to patients with pacemakers for the last decade, but both patients and clinicians are still not aware of this.

‘The lack of MRI provision for pacemaker patients has had devastating consequences for cancer and other conditions. We hope these resources will help to provide the same access to MRI as everyone else.’

Dr Anish Bhuva, Cardiologist

‘The MRI process is complex, but the Design Science team have conveyed the message simply to reduce anxiety felt by the patient over their journey. ’

Dr Anish Bhuva, Cardiologist

How we did it

The resources required careful stakeholder engagement because of the complexities around the problem, so we worked in collaboration with six professional societies and two patient charities.

We supported workshops and online surveys to understand patient and clinician perspectives.

We then developed storyboards to inform the design of resources aimed at increasing the number of people who realise that MRI services can be accessed safely and with confidence.

The videos and leaflet are designed to be easy for everyone to understand and use.

Clinician video

Who was involved

The project was supported by the British Heart Foundation and partnered with a range of medical societies and associations including the British Cardiovascular Society, Royal College of Radiologists and other professional societies.

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