Cardiac MRI in patients with cardiac pacemakers: Practical methods for reducing susceptibility artifacts and optimizing image quality

Touko Kaasalainen*, Sari Kivistö, Miia Holmström, Juha Peltonen, Sami Pakarinen, Helena Hänninen, Outi Sipilä

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of pacemaker patients has become available despite of previous contraindications. However, pacing systems containing ferromagnetic material may hamper the diagnostic quality of cardiac MR (CMR) images. Purpose: To study methods for reducing susceptibility-based artifacts in CMR examinations of pacemaker patients. Material and Methods: Altogether 16 patients were scanned with 1.5T MRI scanner using cine balanced steady-state free-precession (bSSFP) and spoiled gradient echo (SPGR) sequences. The use of frequency-scout was also evaluated. For myocardial late gadolinium-enhanced (LGE) imaging, SPGR or bSSFP readout inversion-recovery prepared gradient echo sequences were used with and without phase-sensitive inversion-recovery (PSIR). Two radiologists subjectively compared the image quality (IQ) and the ranges of susceptibility artifacts were evaluated objectively. Results: The IQ proved adequate for diagnosing each patient, although in a few patients with a left-side implanted generator, artifacts hampered IQ in the anterior and anteroseptal segments of the myocardium in bSSFP cine and LGE sequences. In bSSFP cine, the use of frequency-scout could often transfer the banding artifacts away from the left ventricular myocardium. In LGE imaging, the artifacts were more pronounced in IR-bSSFP and PSIR than in IR-SPGR sequences. The ranges of generator-based artifacts were greater in bSSFP (10-12 cm) than in SPGR (6 cm) sequences due to banding artifacts. Conclusion: The artifacts caused by pacemakers typically did not compromise the diagnostic IQ. The use of frequencyscout prior to bSSFP cine or the use of SPGR-based sequences could also improve IQ.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-187
Number of pages10
JournalActa Radiologica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • CMR
  • pacemaker
  • susceptibility artifact
  • frequency-scout
  • image quality
  • 1.5 TESLA

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