WICHITA –Kansas Department of Transportation crew member Tony Robertson, 64, has had his share of medical appointments. First diagnosed with cancer in 1993, he has survived three different types of cancer and has been in remission -- until now.
Diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and wearing a cardiac-monitoring life vest, a PET scan discovered a new chest nodule. Robertson’s doctor, Ghiyath Tabbal, MD, a cardiologist with Heartland Cardiology and Wesley Medical Center, implanted a new kind of defibrillator, the first one that is compatible with MRIs. Wesley Medical Center is the first hospital in Kansas to perform the procedure with this brand-new technology.
“I’m not new to a cancer diagnosis, but with my heart arrhythmia challenges and now a need for a MRI scan, Dr. Tabbal suggested I get the new defibrillator implanted,” Robertson said. “If it turns out to be cancer again, I’ll need several MRIs and with this technology I’ll be able to have them.”
Many patients rely on implantable cardioverter defibrillators – or ICDs – to detect irregular heartbeats and deliver life-saving therapy to resume a normal heartbeat. However, until now, patients with ICDs have not been able to receive MRI scans because of potential interactions between the MRI and the device function, which could result in risk to the patient. An MRI is an imaging test used regularly for a wide range of diagnoses including conditions such as stroke, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and muscle, bone and back pain, all which are prevalent among older adults.
The Evera MRI™ SureScan® ICD System from Medtronic was approved by the FDA last month to allow for MRI scans on any part of the body. The system includes design enhancements from previous-generation devices that allow it to safely undergo full-body MRIs while maintaining the same longevity, proven shock reduction and physical size and shape of the original ICD.
“Patients with ICDs are often older adults with other serious medical conditions that require an MRI for diagnosis,” Dr. Tabbal said. “We’re grateful to have this game-changing technology that helps treat cardiac arrest and enables patients to access MRIs, which allows us to provide even better care. Now patients can have the peace of mind knowing that they have access to MRI scans if needed, today or in the future.”
An ICD is a small implantable heart device that is placed under the skin typically just below the collarbone on the left side of the chest. The implantation is minimally invasive surgery and only takes about one hour. For patients at risk for a life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia or cardiac arrest – a sudden, abrupt loss of heart function that can result in death if not treated within minutes – ICDS may be prescribed to continuously monitor heart rate and deliver an electrical signal to correct the heart rate.
Robertson will be visiting Dr. Tabbal later this week for his follow-up appointment, as well as scheduling his MRI. With plans to retire Nov. 1, Robertson is looking forward to his new chapter of life.
“I can’t wait to start my retirement. I’m looking forward to just staying and home and taking it easy,” he said.
Wesley Healthcareis the region’s leading acute care hospital network providing a full range of diagnostic and treatment services for patients throughout Kansas and northern Oklahoma since 1912. As a leader in Overall Recommended Care in national surveys, Wesley Medical Center treats more than 24,000 patients annually and delivers more than 6,000 babies – more than any hospital in a 13-state region. Wesley provides the most extensive emergency network in Wichita, with Wesley ER, Wesley West ER, Wesley Woodlawn ER, the region’s only pediatric ER and soon, Wesley Derby ER. Wesley owns and operates Wesley Woodlawn Hospital & ER, multiple WesleyCare clinics and is currently building the region’s only dedicated children’s hospital – Wesley Children’s Hospital. To learn more about Wesley Healthcare, please visit www.wesleymc.com.