Devices & Diagnostics

St. Jude Medical launches new MR-conditional pacemaker in India

To capitalize on growing demand from international markets, St. Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ) is launching a new MR-Conditional pacemaker in India that will allow patients implanted with such a pacemaker to undergo a full-body MRI scan safely. The Accent MRI pacemaker, among St. Jude’s roster of new innovative medical devices,  is the first MR-Conditional pacemaker to […]


To capitalize on growing demand from international markets, St. Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ) is launching a new MR-Conditional pacemaker in India that will allow patients implanted with such a pacemaker to undergo a full-body MRI scan safely.

The Accent MRI pacemaker, among St. Jude’s roster of new innovative medical devices,  is the first MR-Conditional pacemaker to allow a high-resolution, full-body scan without compromising the patient’s safety, said a St. Jude spokeswoman.

Scores of people implanted with pacemakers forego MRI scans because the magnetic resonance emerging as a result of the scan can disrupt the functioning of the pacemaker.

St. Jude’s Accent MRI has a new feature called “activator” that competing products don’t have, said Marisa Bluestone, the St. Jude spokeswoman.

An Indian physician confirmed that the activator is a small device that obviates the need for a St. Jude cardiologist or trained technologists to be present at the site where the patient is getting his or her MRI scan. That’s because a single button on the handheld MRI activator device can be pressed to choose the settings already preselected by an implanting physician. Previously, a St. Jude-trained technician at the site of the MRI scan would have to adjust the settings in order to make sure that safety of the pacemaker was not compromised.

“Unlike other MRI pacemakers, the St Jude pacemaker does not require a cardiologist or technologist from the pacemaker company to ‘program’ the pacemaker before the MRI scan,” Dr. Ulhas Pandurangi, chief electrophysiologist at Madras Medical Mission in Chennai, said in an email. “A radiologist who is always present at the MRI scan site may program the pacemaker safely by simply placing the ‘activator’ — a small device half the size of an iPhone — on the (patient’s) skin covering (the) pacemaker.”

Pandurangi added that the accompanying lead that St. Jude was launching in India is very user friendly given that no special skills are required by physicians to use them.

St. Jude Medical’s India manager Kaustav Bannerjee declined to disclose India revenue but implied that the demand for such a product would be strong since heart disease is on the rise in India.

“The World Health Organisation estimates that India is likely to emerge as the global capital of heart diseases by 2025,” Bannerjee said in an email. “However, at times patients have conditions in addition to heart disease and could benefit from an MRI scan at present or in the future. The Accent MRI is an important technology for those patients.”

MR-Conditional pacemakers have made the possibility of getting a MRI scan even with a pacemaker a reality. In the U.S., Medtronic is ahead of its competition in having not only an approved MR-Conditional pacemaker on the market — the Revo SureScan — but is currently testing a next-generation product.