ICD AND PACEMAKER INTERFERENCE: DEALING WITH EMI
When you live with an implanted device, it is important to be aware of electromagnetic interference, or EMI. EMI happens when the electromagnetic field generated by certain household objects, pieces of heavy equipment and medical equipment/procedures interferes with the way an implantable device works.
EMI can potentially:
- Disrupt the function of a pacemaker
- Cause an implantable cardiac device (ICD) to falsely sense an irregular heart rhythm, sending a shock that is not needed
Ask your doctor about the best way to avoid EMI, and for answers to any questions you may have about how specific equipment can affect your device.
MEDICAL PROCEDURES TO AVOID
Always inform hospital, clinic and dental staff that you have a pacemaker or ICD. The following procedures produce EMI and are not considered safe for people with implantable devices:
- Microwave diathermy
MAGNETIC RESONANCE (MR) CONDITIONAL PACEMAKERS AND ICDS
MRI technology is used to visualize soft tissue within the body. MRI scans are considered the imaging modality that offers the most information to medical professionals when making patient diagnosis. MRI is often the preferred imaging choice when diagnosing stroke, cancer, heart-related issues, injuries and many other medical conditions because of the very detailed images it provides, combined with the low risk of radiation.
Some pacemakers and ICDs are called “MR Conditional,” “MRI Conditional” or “MRI ready.” This means that they are designed to allow you to safely undergo an MRI scan under certain conditions, due to safeguards in the system’s design that protect it from the risks of EMI. By having a pacemaker or ICD implanted that allows MRI scans, you will have access to what many physicians consider their preferred diagnostic tool.
- If your pacemaker or ICD is MR Conditional, your doctor will have informed you, and you should carry a special identification card.
If you have a Abbott MR Conditional pacemaker or ICDs, download your MRI patient ID card.
MEDICAL PROCEDURES TO CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT
Ask your doctor before undergoing:
- Acupuncture with electrical stimulus
- Electroconvulsive therapy
- Endoscopic procedures: colonoscopy/gastroscopy
- Hyperbaric therapy
- Interferential current therapy
- Laser/lasik eye surgery
- Radiation therapy
- Radiofrequency ablation
- Ultrasound, therapeutic
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (tens)
- Transurethral prostate therapy
MEDICAL PROCEDURES WITH NO KNOWN RISK
Medical procedures that you can safely have if you have a pacemaker or an implantable cardioverter defibrillator include:
- Acupuncture with no electrical stimulus
- Bone density scan
- CT scan
- Dental drilling and ultrasonic scalers
- External counter pulsation
- Mammography (position emission tomography(PET))
- Ultrasound, diagnostic
- X-ray, diagnostic
Some industrial equipment can produce EMI that interferes with pacemakers or ICD. These include:
- Arc welders
- Induction furnaces
- Very large or defective electric motors
- Very large internal combustion engines with poorly shielded ignition systems
Ask your doctor before working with or near these machines.
HOME AND OFFICE TECHNOLOGY TO AVOID:
- Magnetic mattresses or chairs
- Electrical equipment in poor condition
- Electrical equipment that is improperly grounded
HOME AND OFFICE TECHNOLOGY WITH NO KNOWN RISKS
These items carry no known risk to implantable devices. Use caution with items marked with an asterisk.