Safety of Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy in Patients with Pacemakers

Sanjeet S. Grewal, Krzysztof R. Gorny, Christopher P. Favazza, Robert E. Watson, Timothy J. Kaufmann, Jamie J. Van Gompel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND IMPORTANCE: Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LiTT) has increasingly been used as a treatment option for medically refractory epilepsy, tumors, and radiation necrosis. The use of LiTT requires intraoperative magnetic resonance (MR) thermography. This can become an issue in patients with other implanted therapeutic devices such as pacemakers and vagal nerve stimulators due to concerns regarding increases in the specific absorption rate (SAR). This is a technical case report demonstrating a successfully and safely performed LiTT in a 1.5-T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in a patient with a pacemaker for mesial temporal sclerosis. CLINICAL PRESENTATION: An 83-yr-old gentleman who had an implanted cardiac pacemaker presented with medically intractable epilepsy and was confirmed to have mesial temporal sclerosis on imaging. Video electroencephalography demonstrated concordant ipsilateral seizures and semiology. He underwent LiTT for ablation of themesial temporal lobe. This was performed with the below described protocol with a cardiology nurse monitoring the patient's cardiac condition and a physicist monitoring SAR, and MR imaging quality without any adverse events. CONCLUSION: This study reports on a protocol of cardiac and MR SAR to safely perform MR-guided LiTT in the setting of traditional pacemakers in patientswho are not pacemaker dependent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E69-E72
JournalOperative Neurosurgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018


  • Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LiTT)
  • Pacemaker
  • Specific absorption rate (SAR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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