CT scan and contrast

Hi All

Having an abdominal CT scan with contrast next week for an issue totally unrelated to my biotronik edora 8drt. My 1st ct scan since I got the pm last year due to complete HB.

Intuitively, and medically as well (I am in the medical field) I know neither the ct nor contrast will affect my pm. I guess I have to hear it though from my fellow pm wearers. I probably should be more concerned for actually needing the ct scan in the first place (haha) but I am more focused on the obvious. Will contrast jam up my pm and its leads forever rendering it useless? Will the radiation from the scan itself stop my pm dead in its tracks? Will the scanner swallow me whole? Haha you get the idea. Have had plenty of ct's over the years so this shouldn't be freaking me out, but this  pacemaker wearing ski girl is indeed freaked. Thank you all in advance.


Stay well hydrated!

by Gemita - 2023-09-08 07:14:59

Skigrl, I totally get it!  I am just the same.  Stay well hydrated before, during, after to flush out the CT contrast from your body is my best advice, to help those kidneys.    

I have had several recent CT Scans with contrast (head, abdomen, chest) and I am still here and my pacemaker and heart are still “purring” away.  

Will contrast jam up my pm and its leads forever rendering it useless? Will the radiation from the scan itself stop my pm dead in its tracks? Will the scanner swallow me whole you ask!  What imagination you have!

I quote from the link below:

"Although it is possible that CT x-rays directly irradiating the electronics of implantable pacemakers or ICDs can cause electronic interference, the probability that this interference can cause clinically significant adverse events is extremely low. The probability of x-ray electromagnetic interference is lower when radiation dose and particularly the radiation dose rate are reduced. Interference can be completely avoided when the implantable device is outside of the primary x-ray beam of the CT scanner"

which in your case seems to be the position?  Yes think more about the importance of getting that scan and ruling out a disease.  The pacemaker system should not be affected.  Good luck


CT Scans

by Marybird - 2023-09-08 08:36:11

I've had two each of both chest and abdominal CTscans in the last year or so and anticipate more in my future, and have had no issues at all with my pacemaker. I do make sure the providers know about the pacemaker, if only to hear their reassurance that the test, procedure or whatever will not affect it. 

Skigrl, I understand completely your trepidation about having the CT scan with a new pacemaker on board, even though working in the medical field you know rationally it will be ok. Having been there myself pretty much since the dinosaurs roamed the earth, remembering my reactions and those of others, ie, coworkers and even doctors facing personal or family medical issues, no matter how much we may know, all objectivity goes straight out the window! Happens every time when its us, or our loved ones. 

I also recall being superconscious for some time of anything that might have even the remotest chance of adversely affecting my pacemaker when it was new. I think it's natural to feel that way, and the more vivid your imagination, the more things that cross your mind about what *could* happen. I think I imagined for nearly a year doing something that would rip those leads right out of my heart and maybe the veins they were snaked through as well. I'm a 4 year pacemaker veteran now, and don't even think most of the time about the pacemaker now, other than ensuring my medical providers know its there. 

You'll be fine ( but you know that!) It sounds as though you've had experience with CTscans before, so you know all about drinking lots of water to get rid of the contrast after the scans., So, I'm wondering if you have to drink barium before the scan as I did before my recent abdominal scan. If so, what's your favorite flavor? They offered me vanilla, mocha or "mixed berry" flavors, and I chose the latter, but barium tastes and has the texture of barium regardless of how it's disguised. The berry flavor was ok ( needed salt, I think) but I'm thinking to try the vanilla next time, I'm not crazy about mocha.,

perfectly safe

by Tracey_E - 2023-09-08 08:43:03

The only thing we need to be wary of is magnets. Xrays have no effect on the pacer. 

Go ahead and laugh at yourself

by Gotrhythm - 2023-09-08 11:53:44

It's funny how the mind works, isn't it? Even when we know our fears are irrational, and our imagination is running amuck, we can still conjur up the most unlikely scenarios. What can you do but laugh about it?

Glad you know what will comfort you and are seeking the confort you need.

Well, let me reassure you. In the 13 years since I got my pacemaker, I think I've had a C-T scan of every internal organ I've got, and I've drunk gallons of, or had shot into my veins, every sort of contrast die or radio-opaque medium.

In every case, the pacemaker worked exactly the same afterward. No damage at all. The wires didn't get gummed up, the pacemaker didn't start transmitting gibberish. The machine didn't swallow me--well,it did, but it spit me back out.

Everything you know about how it really works, is true. Your pacemaker will not be involved. Hopefully they'll find no problem, or if not, one that has an easy solution. Good luck.


No problem

by Lavender - 2023-09-08 23:13:33

Will contrast jam up my pm and its leads forever rendering it useless? Will the radiation from the scan itself stop my pm dead in its tracks? Will the scanner swallow me whole?



no way

I had an abdominal CT scan with contrast. No problem at all. Relax. 

You know you're wired when...

Your device acts like a police scanner.

Member Quotes

I finished 29th in London in 2 hours 20 minutes 30 seconds which is my fastest with or without a device so clearly it didn’t slow me down ! I had no problems apart from some slight chaffing on my scar - more Vaseline next time.