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Fiber Lead Bridges MRI-Pacemaker Gap

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ROCHESTER, N.Y., Feb. 7 -- A pacemaker made MRI-compatible using a fiber optic lead is being developed by Raymond Damadian, MD, inventor of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) diagnostics, and Wilson Greatbatch, inventor of the pacemaker, for medical-device maker Biophan Technologies.

At present, an MRI scan can cause the metal wire of a pacemaker to heat up and scar the heart, causing other problems and potential failure. Biophan has replaced the wire cable with a fiber optic lead, and an implantable low-power semiconductor laser is used to sense and regulate a patient's heartbeat.

"This will be the first time a laser has been implanted in the body," said Greatblach. "In time, an implantable device that works off an electric wire will be obsolete and replaced with photonic leads."

Damadian is CEO of FONAR Corp., which introduced the first commercial MRI in 1980. FONAR will supply equipment, labs and staff to assist the development team.
Feb 2002
fiber opticsNews & Features

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