Recent Blog Articles

Heart News: Pacemakers and mammograms

July 01, 2006

Heart News

Pacemakers and mammograms

Currently, some three million American women have pacemakers. If you have one — or an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) — here's a word of caution for your next mammogram: Make sure the technician doing the scan knows you have a device to regulate your heart. Without this important piece of information, the wire connecting the device to the heart (called the lead) could be damaged.

This happened to a patient of Dr. Mark M. Sherman, a cardiothoracic surgeon in Springfield, Mass. As the woman's breast was being compressed between the two plates of the mammography machine during her annual mammogram, she suddenly cried out in pain. The mammography technician immediately stopped the procedure, waited until the pain subsided and the woman was all right, and then completed the scan.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.