Multiple Sclerosis with a pacemaker

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TheShirt
New Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 5/30/2007 7:15 AM (GMT -6)   

My wife has recently been diagnosed with MS through a spinal tap.  I really didn't even know what MS was before that, but have learned quite a bit over the past two weeks.  She was unable to have an MRI because she has a pacemaker (a non-dependent pacemaker).  Since she was diagnosed, we have contacted her cardiologist and the pacemaker manufacturer, and, with reluctance, they both agreed to allow her to have an MRI if they were present and disabled the pacemaker during the procedure.  The radiology department at the hospital, however, has informed us that they will not perform the MRI.  Without an MRI, how effective can the MS be diagnosed and tracked?  I gathered from our conversations with the cardiologist and pacemaker rep that MRIs have been performed on patients with pacemakers.  Is anyone aware of where we may be able to do that?

 

This is all new to us, and we're a little overwhelmed right now.


uppitycats
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2135
   Posted 5/30/2007 7:53 AM (GMT -6)   
TheShirt said...

My wife has recently been diagnosed with MS through a spinal tap.  I really didn't even know what MS was before that, but have learned quite a bit over the past two weeks.  She was unable to have an MRI because she has a pacemaker (a non-dependent pacemaker).  Since she was diagnosed, we have contacted her cardiologist and the pacemaker manufacturer, and, with reluctance, they both agreed to allow her to have an MRI if they were present and disabled the pacemaker during the procedure.  The radiology department at the hospital, however, has informed us that they will not perform the MRI.  Without an MRI, how effective can the MS be diagnosed and tracked?  I gathered from our conversations with the cardiologist and pacemaker rep that MRIs have been performed on patients with pacemakers.  Is anyone aware of where we may be able to do that?

 

This is all new to us, and we're a little overwhelmed right now.

I'm sorry to learn of your wife's diagnosis.  It must be especially trying, dealing with that and also the heart problems that have caused her to have a pacemaker!
 
Please note: I am NOT a doctor, and don't pretend to be one, here.  But  here is my opinion about your question, "Without an MRI, how effective can the MS be diagnosed and tracked?"
MS has been diagnosed for years, LONG before MRI's existed, through the spinal tap your wife had, and clinical signs and symptoms.  While an MRI is a useful diagnostic tool, once the diagnosis is made -- with or without the use of an MRI -- tracking is done by observation: is the patient experiencing new symptoms? is she having flares, or exacerbations (increase in intensity of "old" symptoms, along with "new" symptoms)? So if she has been diagnosed, there really isn't any reason to have an MRI, unless she really doubts her diagnosis.
While it's helpful sometimes to have an MRI when starting a new drug therapy (one of the four drugs used to slow the progression of MS -- Avonex, Betaseron, Rebif, or Copaxone, for example) -- it really isn't necessary.  I've had MS for 24 years. The last MRI I had was maybe 15 years ago or so, and was done really because the doctor was unfamiliar with how MS looked on an MRI, and asked if I'd mind being his "test subject". My MS was confirmed long before MRI's even existed, through the spinal tap and clinical signs.
Given her medical history, and the hospital's reluctance to submit her to the MRI..and again, if she's pretty confident that the diagnosis is accurate .. .I'd probably not insist on an MRI at this point.
Please don't hesitate to come back here with questions. A good source of information, particularly for newly diagnosed people, is at the National Multiple Sclerosis website, www.nmss.org  and there are other sources and links listed at the top of the page here.
 

...I am not a doctor, nor health professional, and don't pretend to be one, here.....


TheShirt
New Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 5/30/2007 11:25 AM (GMT -6)   

Thank you for the response, and the advise.  It is very comforting for me to hear that there has been no need for you to have had one in 15 years.

I've spent a fair amount of time talking with a radiologist this morning, and evidently, the concern is as much about the pacemaker leads as it is the pacemaker.  She just had a new pacemaker installed within the last 8 months.  Perhaps in 15 or 20 years when she has to have this one replaced, the leads will need replacing, and we can have an MRI done then!  As my Grandmom used to say, "It's all through life."

Again, thank you.

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