Medical Devices & Technology

Medical Devices & Technology Articles

MRI and pacemakers: A risky mix

Unless you have an MRI-friendly pacemaker, a CT scan may be safer. In multiple studies, the powerful magnets in MRI units have caused pacemakers to change their settings and the leads in both types of devices to become superheated. Some deaths have occurred during inadvertent, unmonitored scanning of patients with pacemakers, although the exact reasons are unknown. Computed tomography (CT) is often recommended as an alternative imaging test. (Locked) More »

Update on cataract surgery and replacement lenses

Ophthalmologists have been using high-speed lasers for some time to perform LASIK procedures.  Now some are using similar technology to perform cataract surgery. Proponents say these lasers, which are guided by computers, will make cataract surgery that much safer. But so far, these are just claims without a great deal of quality evidence to back them up. One question, though, is whether the technical improvements in the operation will translate into significantly better outcomes. Then the question becomes whether they are worth the additional cost. (Locked) More »

Small step forward for stem cells, giant leaps remain

In a very small study, stem cells from heart tissue helped boost pumping power in the hearts of heart attack survivors. But as encouraging as the findings were, stem cell research is still in its infancy and has a long way to go before yielding effective treatments for heart disease. (Locked) More »

Preventing pacemaker, ICD infections now a priority

An increase in the number of infections in people receiving implanted heart devices means caregivers need to make prevention of infection their priority. Here are several things you and your health care providers can do to boost your chances of an infection-free implantation: (Locked) More »

Atrial fibrillation: Common, serious, treatable

Atrial fibrillation occurs when the heart's upper chambers flutter rapidly and weakly, instead of contracting regularly and steadily. Age, high blood pressure, lung disease, thyroid problems, and smoking are among the likely contributors. AF is becoming more common with between 2.3 million and 5.1 million Americans affected, and 150,000 new cases diagnosed each year. This condition increases the risk of stroke fivefold and almost doubles the risk of premature death. There are standard theriapies and new innovations which are highly effective in treating artrial fibrillation. More »

The smartphone will see you now

Hundreds of heart-related applications are available for the iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and other smartphones. Many are little more than glorified diaries or pamphlets. A growing number, though, are tapping into the sophisticated technology packed into these phones. Here are a few examples of useful heart-related apps and devices. (Locked) More »