Friday, October 13, 2006

Has medical tech outsmarted itself?

…AP reporter Lauran Neergaard writes that some new medical gizmos interfere with others.

...(Wo)man vs machine--is it a tie?

…More than 2 million Americans depend on pacemakers or those internal defibrillators to keep their hearts beating.

…Catch. These are not allowed in MRI machines, which operate using magnets.

…The magnets can heat up some pacemakers and defibrillators and burn the person inside or put out radio waves that can confuse the implants and make them misfire.

…HA believes the words “deadly meltdown” were used, which certainly sounds undesirable.

…Some docs have decided, what the hey, though, and are using shields to partition off the devices while the patient is in the tube.

…The FDA has been asking device manufacturers to make the things MRI-friendly, but in the meantime (apparently this has been a long meantime), Johns Hopkins has scanned 100 people using their shielding ideas.

…Still, they say they can’t guarantee nothing will go…awry. Or should that be a-fry?

…Medtronic Inc is awaiting FDA permission to try its MRI-safe pacemaker on patients.

…The University of Pittsburgh is developing a blanket similar to that thing at the dentist to keep out the harmful rays and waves.

…Work is also going on to develop wires that don’t heat as much.

…We have to quit getting things wrong with us—that’s the only answer here.

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