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Author Topic: Ham radio with a pacemaker?  (Read 564 times)
KB8ASO
Member

Posts: 72




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« on: January 25, 2002, 04:42:21 PM »

Hello.  My wife may be getting a defibrillator (ICD) to correct a bad heart rhythm she has due to an enlarged heart.  If you have a pacemaker or defibrillator, what have been your experiences with this device and ham radio operation?  She is studying for the no code tech license currently, but she is afraid that a HT might cause her device to malfunction.  The manufacturer suggests that you do not grab a hold of the antenna while transmitting ( No kidding! ) but no other precautions.  Another manufacturer recommends a HT @ 3 watts be held no closer than 6 inches from the device.  HF antennas be kept at least 10 feet away while xmiting @ 200 watts.  Seems reasonable.    What has been you experience?

Thanks,
Randy KB8ASO
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KB9YOZ
Member

Posts: 1




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« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2002, 06:02:29 PM »

Greetings.

Sorry to hear of your XYL's heart trouble. Glad the electrophysiology folks could help her. In answer to your question, I had a plain-vanilla Medtronic pacemaker installed 2 years ago February. I was told to avoid exposure to microwave RF energy and to stay away from nuclear accelerators (honestly... I work at the University of Chicago so it's not so far-fetched) but that exposure to HF RF energy was okay. I was not, however, to stray into the near field just as a safety precaution.

I have been operating HF up to 1500 W / VHF at abt. 50 W since the surgery and have been just fine.

Hope this helps.

73,
Dave D.
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KB6TRR
Member

Posts: 32




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« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2002, 09:08:52 AM »

Since we are not talking about which makes a better rig, and you are likely to get 10 different opinions. You need to contact her doctor and the manufacturer of the pacemaker to make sure the device is not susceptable to HF and vhf RF exposure. I would not leave the final answer up to a bunch of us ham knuckleheads who may know all there is to know about rigs and antennas, but whose knowledge of medical devices is, shall we say somewhat limited.
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KB8ASO
Member

Posts: 72




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« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2002, 10:06:06 AM »

The problem with asking the manufacturer ( St. Johns ) is that all that they ask is that you do not hold on to the antenna when you transmit?!  Seems a little to liberal to me.  What I am looking for is if you have one of these devices for a while, how many times has RF caused a false operation of your device and what were the circumstances when it did.  My wife does not like the idea of it going off ( supposed to feel like a mule kick in the chest ) for no good reason.  I would like for her to have a 2 meter in the car and a 2 meter hand held for emergency communication as the local cell coverage is very spotty and unreliable in the county where we live with no improvement in sight.  She would feel better hearing from people that actually have a device and have real world experience with it.  The maker is not much help here.
Randy KB8ASO    
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KB8ASO
Member

Posts: 72




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« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2002, 11:10:22 AM »

The problem with asking the manufacturer ( St. Johns ) is that all that they ask is that you do not hold on to the antenna when you transmit?!  Seems a little to liberal to me.  What I am looking for is if you have one of these devices for a while, how many times has RF caused a false operation of your device and what were the circumstances when it did.  My wife does not like the idea of it going off ( supposed to feel like a mule kick in the chest ) for no good reason.  I would like for her to have a 2 meter in the car and a 2 meter hand held for emergency communication as the local cell coverage is very spotty and unreliable in the county where we live with no improvement in sight.  She would feel better hearing from people that actually have a device and have real world experience with it.  The maker is not much help here.
Randy KB8ASO    
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WB2WIK
Member

Posts: 20630




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« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2002, 12:59:45 PM »

If you can provide me with the model number of the implanted device in question, I can run over there and find an appropriate susceptibility engineer to ask.  St. John's Pacemaker operations are in Sylmar, CA, only about 8 miles from my office and I know several hams who work there.

WB2WIK/6
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KB8ASO
Member

Posts: 72




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« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2002, 04:10:31 PM »

It is a Photon model from St. Jude Medical.  Don't know where I got St. Johns from.  Too much stress!!!!

Thanks
Randy KB8ASO
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