First Canadian Implantation of a New MRI Friendly CRT-D Implant

Great News for Cardiology Patients and their Medical Team!

A patient from the Montreal General Hospital with heart failure has successfully received a Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Defibrillator (CRT-D) that will allow him to safely undergo full-body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Although “traditional” CRT-Ds are frequently used, this is the first time the device called Amplia MRI™ Quad CRT-D SureScan has been implanted in Canada.

From left to right: Eric Lafontaine, Peggy Verhoef, Yves De Champlain, Vidal Essebag, Kerwin Chahal, Caroline Mai, Pedro Lima, Federico Melibovsky.

Located just under the collarbone, the device helps regulating the hearth, therefore providing patients with a better quality of life and a sense of security.

“None of this would be possible without the collaboration of our nurses, technicians, secretaries, fellows and physicians. We have an excellent team that I am very proud of,” says Dr. Vidal Essebag, who implanted the first MRI-compatible CRT-D in Canada.

In 2016, approximately 3,400 Canadians got a CRT-D implant. “CRT-Ds are often used in patients with severe heart failure, but a significant downside of this procedure has been that these patients are unable to undergo MRI scans after surgery because the strong magnetic fields generated by MRI affect the normal operation of the heart device,” says Dr. Vidal Essebag, who is Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology at the MUHC and performed the surgery using the new implantable device. 

A CRT-D, also known as a biventricular pacemaker/defibrillator, is comprised of a pacemaker, a defibrillator and an additional third wire that allows sending electrical impulses to both lower chambers of the heart to help them beat in a more synchronized pattern.

Access to magnetic resonance imagery, an incredible asset for cardiologists  

MRIs use magnetic fields to create a detailed internal view of the body, and are widely used to diagnose and plan the treatment of patients with a range of diseases and conditions. “MRIs have become the most powerful imaging method in cardiology, giving doctors invaluable information about the anatomy of the heart and about the areas of the heart that are scarred or abnormal, “says Dr. Essebag. “This information is vital, so the fact that we now have access to an MRI-compatible CRT-D device is a major advancement in the care of patients with severe heart failure.”