AF Association
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ICD friendly Chainsaws

I have just had my ICD implanted and I have been taking an interest in equipment that generates electromagnetic fields that effect the ICD. Some of the weirder examples are Chainsaws, Hedge Trimmers and the Headphones of my MP3.

I'm very much a newbie but would anyone with a Pacemaker or ICD please let me know how they are getting on?

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Oh there are some real goodies out there including some key less cars, induction hobs and of course electric welders. Good luck.

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All items with electrical or electronic components that are sold in the EU must comply with the EMC (Electromagnetic Compatibility) directives and standards. Note that they can self certify though for some equipment, particularly in safety critical environments, clients insist on independent testing and certification.

With most EU directives the applicable date is the date of manufacture but some transitional arrangements are allowed when standards are updated but most manufacturer's upgrade / update their products well in advance of the new compulsion date.

However it is worthwhile noting that backwards compatibility remains unchanged.

Therefore a device (eg induction hob manufactured 10 years ago may not comply with current requirements (however it may actually comply with current).

An ICD made in 2016 does have to comply with current requirements. In reverse an ICD made in 2007 only has to comply with the requirements around in 2007 (but it may also comply with current) but a 2016 induction hob has to comply with current requirements.

Note (just to complicate things) that because of the specialities of medical equipment (and sometimes other safety critical equipment such as on the railways or petrochemical plants) additional requirements may prevail. Manufacturers will identify these.

Therefore you should check with the manufacturer of your ICD if there are any special or additional requirements / restrictions. Similarly contact the manufacturer of the device or equipment or tool you are using.

Sometimes information handed out by hospitals is out of date because they say you can't use something (eg induction hobs) because they can't be expected to keep up with a lll improvements to equipment for all manufacturers whereas the manufacturer of your ICD and / or your induction hob may say its fine.

An example of how things change is that 10 years ago there was a blanket ban on the use of mobile phones in hospitals. Nowadays they allow patients to use their own mobiles in hospitals and it is only in really sensitive areas such as theatres and intensive acre where they are not allowed even though the chances are that it is 99.9% safe to do so. Even that may have changed recently!!!

BTW the regulations have been / are quite different in America although quite a lot of the European regulations have bene adopted by the US. Don't know about other countries such as Australia.

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Ap-sa LOOTLy brilliant image, straight out of the operating theatre ICD in place, chainsaw in hand, ready for anything! That cheered me up.

You MUST get a checked shirt. And eat Yorkie bars. Naturally.

I hope you get a handle on this quickly, feel a lot better, and live life to the full. Best wishes from me.

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Oh you certainly made my day. Your wit and character in response to Ogilvie' s post made me laugh so much. You sound like a cheerful, happy person despite what your particular health issue is. I have a pacemaker (not an ICD one) and am conscious of what we PM users should avoid. I am still giggling at the checked shirt and yorkie bars - I'm a lumberjack and I don't care. Sorry for my frivolous reply folks, AF is not a laughing matter.

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Thanks for all replies. I have been checking the internet to see if there was some kind of shielding / protection I could buy - but no luck so far.... maybe I am just being paranoid and if I keep anything electric a foot away from the ICD I will be OK!

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I am getting an ICD installed on Friday. I am curious to know if it helps with breathlessness - of course you may not have had breathlessness. Did you go home the day after the procedure?? My EP hasn't given me anything about what to expect after the ICD is inserted. Anything you can tell me will be appreciated. I am in the US. Thanks, nomad103 (Connie)

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Thanks Carol70. Yes we just can't let it push us down.

"AF is not a laughing matter". B- Bwouahahahaha!

(Solemn face).

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I had mine fitted on last Tuesday (23rd August). I was in Tuesday and out Wednesday. The op itself is a non event. It's performed under a local aesthetic and takes about an hour. As usual with hospitals I didn't get much sleep and the first few nights at home were a bit uncomfortable but I was surprised how quickly the wound has healed and the strength is coming back.

You will be told to take it easy as you don't want to dislodge the wires - my surgeon told me it takes about 10 days to become embedded. Obviously there is the driving restrictions (1 month in the UK) which I am finding a real annoyance and temporary restrictions on what you can do physically but all in all, a non event.

My ICD has a little gizmo that looks like a mobile phone and sits next to my bed. At 04:00 my ICD downloads performance data to my local hospital and uploads any updates. This means that any early signs of something bad can be picked up and sorted - I found that quite reassuring.

In my case it wont fix anything (shortness of breath, fat feet etc). It's purely precautionary. I am hoping that with the safety net in place my cardiologist will fine tune my drug regime in the full knowledge that I'm not going to die on him and ruin his record.

I have a Biotronik Itrevia 5 vr-T DX and is set to "fire" at 222bpm. The Biotronik website will provide some background to their product.

Let me know how you get on.

Ogilvie

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Hiya Ogilvie, so glad it went well.

Despite making quite a trivial response to your post (cos, well, y'know), I was actually quite angry to think that someone could be being fitted with such a device with no advice or reassurance about shielding.

I think your question is a very helpful one and it is very kind to share your information after the op. It is good to know you can lookup your device online.

You don't have to answer any of this, as I don't know if you have the energy, but I thought I would ask anyway, in case it is useful for AF patients or charities to raise it:

Do you think, with your experience, that it could be made easier for patients such as yourself in future?

What would you suggest?

Eg, I was thinking if medics discussed the device with you weeks or months ahead of time so you could be prepared at home re appliances and possible interference. (Because I imagine that, even if things are mainly compatible and well shielded nowadays, you still still need to know they are... It must have been so stressful not knowing!)

Forgive me I don't have a device and don't want to waste your time with speculation, but thought your question a good opportunity and resource for those who are getting one, especially as you have been so kind as to share your experience here.

Best wishes for a speedy heal-up from Boombiddy.

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Hi Boombiddy,

I know what you mean. I get 15 mins with my Cardiologist every 4 months. To date this has consisted of 10 minutes of him dumping some fairly technical, medical jargon on me and me asking some pretty dumb questions. I have printed off the technical spec on my specific ICD and will use this when I next meet my Cardiologist

I have used Google to find out the details but of course that has it own dangers - there is a lot of old, out of date and inaccurate info on Google!

Now, that I have had the procedure I get access to a Arrhythmia Nurse - but her knowledge of electromagnetic fields was no better than my own. I also get access to group physio therapy - which I am hoping will allow me to meet some "users" and increase my knowledge.

Sites like this have been invaluable - I hope it continues.

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Contact the manufacturer's and they should be able to tell you exactly - especially if you get the serial number from the hospital records which they will have.

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