A Joint statement from the BCS & the Clinical Imaging Board

Publish date:
BCS Announcement

The statement regards access to MRI for patients with pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators – MRI-conditional and legacy devices.

MRI is an unmatched diagnostic test across an expanding range of indications including cancer, neurology, cardiovascular and musculoskeletal disorders, and is now fundamental to diagnosis, treatment planning and monitoring. The consequences of not undergoing MRI when indicated include late and mis-diagnosis, the use of other more invasive tests with less robust performance, more complications and more expense.

Many treatments are precluded without MRI planning including neurosurgery and Cyberknife radiotherapy, potentially resulting in worse clinical outcomes for patients. However one in 50 of the UK population over 65 years (approximately 440,000 people) has a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), traditionally considered contraindications to MRI.

The British Cardiovascular Society and the Clinical Imaging Board (the Society and College of Radiographers, the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine, and the Royal College of Radiologists) jointly believe that patients with cardiac devices should no longer be disadvantaged and have the same access to MRI scanning in the NHS as everyone else.

Addressing this will require local champions, new working practices (clinical, financial), and partnerships – especially between cardiology and radiology and medical physics departments.

"...we as a community are capable of making this happen. We encourage you to help make this a reality in the NHS."

Read the full statement