Measurement of magnetostimulation thresholds in the porcine heart

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Measurement of magnetostimulation thresholds in the porcine heart

Valerie Klein, Jaume Coll-Font, Livia Vendramini, Donald Straney, Mathias Davids, Natalie G. Ferris, Lothar R. Schad, David E. Sosnovik, Christopher T. Nguyen, Lawrence L. Wald, Bastien Guérin



Powerful MRI gradient systems can surpass the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 60601-2-33 limit for cardiac stimulation (CS), which was determined by simple electromagnetic simulations and electrode stimulation experiments. Only a few canine studies measured magnetically induced CS thresholds in vivo and extrapolating them to human safety limits can be challenging.


We measured cardiac magnetostimulation thresholds in 10 healthy, anesthetized pigs using capacitors discharged into a flat spiral coil to produce damped sinusoidal waveforms with effective stimulus duration t s,eff = 0.45 ms. Electrocardiography (ECG), blood pressure, and peripheral oximetry signals were recorded to determine threshold coil currents yielding cardiac capture. Dixon and CINE MR volumes from each animal were segmented to generate porcine-specific electromagnetic models to calculate dB/dt and E-field values in the porcine heart at threshold. For comparison, we also simulated maximum dB/dt and E-field values created by three MRI gradient systems in the heart of a human body model.


The average dB/dt threshold estimated in the porcine heart was 1.66 ± 0.23 kT/s, which is 11-fold greater than the IEC dB/dt limit at t s,eff = 0.45 ms, and 31-fold greater than the maximum value created by the investigated MRI gradients in the human heart. The average E-field threshold estimated in the porcine heart was 92.9 ± 13.5 V/m, which is 6-fold greater than the IEC E-field limit at t s,eff = 0.45 ms and 37-fold greater than the maximum gradient-induced E-field in the human heart.


This first measurement of cardiac magnetostimulation thresholds in pigs indicates that the IEC cardiac safety limit is conservative for the investigated stimulus duration (t s,eff = 0.45 ms).