Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) and pacemakers may be hampered by a variety of equipment and machinery.
The electromagnetic waves emitted by such devices will interfere with the proper operation of your ICD or pacemaker. Try to stay away from them, or at the very least limit your exposure to them.
Your doctor will be able to advise you on which equipment and machinery to avoid. However, the following can cause interference in general:
Anti-theft devices (also called electronic article surveillance or EAS)
ICDs and pacemakers are also very vulnerable to wireless signals from the antennae of phones available in the United States.
As the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) makes new wireless frequencies available, technology is rapidly evolving.
ICDs and pacemakers could be less effective as a result of newer cellphones that use these new frequencies. The possibility is being investigated by the wireless industry.
Use your mobile phone on the ear opposite where your ICD or pacemaker was inserted to keep it at least six inches away from it. It’s best not to keep your phone in your front chest pocket.
Hold walkie-talkies (three watts or less) at least six inches away from the site of your ICD or pacemaker implantation.
ICDs and pacemakers tend to be unaffected by Bluetooth® headsets.
Headphones and MP3 players
ICDs and pacemakers are untouched by MP3 players like the iPod®. Headphones used with MP3 players, on the other hand, can cause interference with both devices. The magnetic material in most MP3 headphones can interfere with ICDs and pacemakers. Earbuds and clip-on headphones both have the potential to cause interference. So keep this in mind:
Keep your ICD or pacemaker at least six inches away from your headphones.
Don’t let someone who is wearing headphones rest their head on your chest.
Keep headphones out of your breast pocket.
Stop draping headphones around your neck and causing them to hang on your chest.
Radios are devices that are used to transmit information
Amateur “ham” radios and citizen’s band (or CB) radios pose little or no danger to pacemakers. However, they may have an effect on how well an ICD operates.
Keep CB radios or ham radios with less than three watts at least six inches away from your ICD.
Three-15 watt CB and ham radios should be kept at least 12 inches away from your ICD.
Keep CB and ham radios with 15-30 watts at least two feet away from your unit.
Jumper wires, power generation equipment, and arc welding equipment
Follow the doctor’s advice when it comes to being around such machinery. In general, hold a gap of at least two feet.
Magnets are objects that attract each other
Pulse generators for ICDs and pacemakers may be inhibited by magnetic fields in devices and machinery. Magnets can activate a switch in ICDs that prevents the ICD from transmitting critical signals like lifesaving shocks.
If you have an ICD or a pacemaker, stay away from magnets or their magnetic fields for as long as possible. Keep magnets at least six inches away from your implanted computer.
Of course, you will not always be conscious if you have come into contact with magnetic machinery. It’s better to err on the side of caution: if you detect any intrusion, step away from the source or, if possible, turn it off.
Magnet therapy that allows you to wear magnetic bracelets or necklaces near your implantation site should be avoided. Magnetic mattress pads and magnetic pillows should also be avoided because they can conflict with your ICD or pacemaker.
Electronic body fat scales and ab stimulators:
Both devices are likely to cause an ICD or pacemaker to malfunction. If you have an embedded unit, stay away from them.
Equipment that runs on gasoline and ignition systems that run on gasoline:
In certain cases, components in the ignition systems of gas-powered engines may cause interference. Keep at least 12 inches away from the ignition system of a car or other gas-powered machinery if you have an ICD.
This does not mean that you can’t start a car with a key because the ignition components are far enough away from the front seats. After ICD or pacemaker surgery, speak to your doctor about when it’s safe for you to drive again.
Car battery chargers on the go:
Electric fences and pet containment systems are two types of electric fences.
ICDs and pacemakers can be harmed by the electromagnetic fields used by such devices. The risk increases as you get closer to the signals and spend more time near them. As far as possible, stay away from or restrict your exposure to such systems.
Also, stay away from transformer boxes or limit your exposure to them. ICDs and pacemakers can be harmed by the electromagnetic field they emit.
Drop Detection Pendants and Medical Alarm Systems
It’s a good idea to check with your medical warning device provider’s customer service to see if their product poses a danger to your pacemaker or ICD.