A Pine Belt Cardiologist introduces new MRI safe pacemaker

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM)- Billy Ray Allen had a stroke a few years ago and was lucky enough to recover, but  he wasn't able to shake a constant dizzy and nauseous feeling, making it hard to function in his day-to-day activities.

"For the last four years, I have been sick a lot and just one thing after another. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me."

Neither could the first couple of doctor's he'd gone to see. Allen said later on, Heartsouth Cardiologist, Dr. Alan Covin, did what's called a tip test and knew immediately he suffered from an irregular heart beat.

"He tipped me down," said Allen, "And I started feeling sick. Well, he tipped me up and I passed out."

Dr. Covin said, his heart stopped and had a six second pause during the test. Which means, there was no blood traveling through his body at that time.

Having suffered a stroke and having prior knee problems, Allen was the perfect candidate for a new type of pacemaker technology.

"The pacemaker is designed to be MRI compatible," according to Covin. Which in the past, was impossible for patients with a pacemaker.

"We are very excited about it because one of the limitations with a pacemakers is once you have one in, you can't have an MRI scan, without risking the pacemaker being damaged or your heart being effected by the MRI scanner."

Before, when patients with this device get a MRI, a Cardiologist, like Dr. Covin, programs it by remote prior to and after the test making it safe for patients.

Allen is the first patient in Mississippi to have this type of device. "Since then I have been feeling excellent!  I mean, I have been feeling really good, I can do what I want to and  I don't get shortness of breath."

In the event he feels bad in the future, his MRI safe pacemaker won't prevent him from the testing he may need.

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