I previously Facebook chatted with Teri about the use of the Spring TMS on a patient that has heart stents. After calling the Montifiore Headache Center to make an appointment about possibly obtaining the device, a fellow on staff returned my call and said he spoke with the people at the Spring TMS Company and they said that heart stents would disqualify me from using it. Any thoughts Teri and Dr. Watson? Thanks, Donna.
In a safety review published in the journal Headache, Dodick et. al. wrote:
Under most circumstances, the effect of the sTMS magnetic field on metal objects is of minimal concern. However, to ensure the highest level of safety, sTMS should not be used by patients with metal or conductive materials or implants in their head, neck, or upper body, excluding the mouth, or by patients with cardiac pacemakers, VNS or other implanted neurostimulators, implanted cardioverter defibrillators, or any implanted medical device that uses a signal from the body.*
To know if your heart stents are truly a problem, a consultation with your cardiologist is in order. Cardiac stents are now made of several different materials, including some that are MRI compatible. The potential issue with the Spring TMS is also a potential with an MRI since both are magnetic. Your cardiologist could tell you if your stents preclude your use of the sTMS, or if you can safely use it. If it’s safe for you, he or she could then either consult with the Montefiore or give you a letter stating that it’s safe for you to use the sTMS.
Thank you, Donna, for raising this important question.
Dave Watson and Teri Robert
- Dodick, David W, MD; Schembri, Carol T. MS; Helmuth, Michele, RN, MN, CANP; Aurora, Sheena K. MD. “Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Migraine: A Saftey Review.” Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 50: 1153–1163. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4610.2010.01697.x
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© David Watson and Teri Robert, 2016.
Dr. David Watson is a UCNS certified migraine and headache specialist and the director of the West Virginia University Headache Center. Dr. Watson takes a special interest in migraines, cluster headaches, and tension-type headaches. He strives to stay up-to-date on current research and treatments and regularly attends continuing medical education conferences. “Dr. Dave” is also very active in the migraine community, taking part in and leading advocacy efforts to benefit the entire community. He is the founder and chairman of the board of Runnin’ for Research, a nonprofit organization that helps interested patients and doctors set up races in their areas to raise research funding for headache disorders. He’s also a regular participant in the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy’s “Headache on the Hill” event and is co-secretary of the American Headache and Migraine Association. You can follow Dr. Watson on Twitter.
Teri Robert is a leading patient educator and advocate in the area of migraine and other headache disorders, and has been writing for the HealthCentral migraine site since 2007. She is a co-founder of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy and the American Headache and Migraine Association. She received the National Headache Foundation’s Patient Partners Award for “ongoing patient education, support, and advocacy,” in 2004 and a Distinguished Service Award from the American Headache Society in 2013. You can find links to Teri’s work on her web site and blog and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.
Do you have questions about Migraine? Reader questions are answered by UCNS certified Migraine and headache specialist Dr. David Watson, and award-winning patient educator and advocate Teri Robert. Questions may be submitted via our submission form. Accepted questions will be answered by publishing the answers in our Ask the Clinician column. For an overview of how we can help and questions we can and can’t answer, please see Seeking Migraine and Headache Diagnoses and Medical Advice.