Pacemakers and ham radio

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:
Here's the gov't test results.

http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/ost/reports/fy95/emi.html

Steve Katz:
Most all radiation in reasonably engineered stations (amateur or otherwise) occurs from the antenna, not from the transmitter enclosures or transmission lines.  As such, proximity to a radiating *antenna* should be the concern, not proximity to radio equipment.

In that regard, a cardiac pacemaker user on the 10th floor of an apartment building down the street from a ham with a 100' tower using beams to transmit his high powered signal should be at substantially greater risk than another pacemaker user sitting right in front of that same station's equipment.

Also in that regard, if the ham pacemaker user Faraday shields his own operating environment, improving isolation from his antennas by, say, 20 dB (which is pretty easy to do at HF->VHF...may not be so easy at microwaves), then operating with 1kW output power would be the equivalent of operating with only 10W output power, without the shielding.

I'm not a pacemaker user and hope not to be (!), but I did a fair amount of subcontracting work for one of the leading pacemaker manufacturers in the world, previously known as Siemens Pacesetter Systems in suburban Los Angeles.  Even back then, radiation immunity was high on their list of important design parameters -- to the extent that they utilized almost entirely "rad hard" semiconductors (bipolar devices radiation hardened for extra immunity to electromagnetic pulse and other sources of potential interference) in the hybrid circuits that made up almost all the working parts of the devices.  These specialty parts cost a lot more money than "COTS" (commercial off-the-shelf) chips, and they paid the extra cost to get them.  I remember this fondly, since I was the one selling the parts to them!

WB2WIK/6

Dee D. Flint:
Doctors tend to hang on to old information and myths about radio waves and pacemakers.  The manufacturer of the pace maker is a much better source of information than the doctor.  The various government and industry studies are also excellent sources.

Check into the various models and be sure to get one that is well rated for not being subject to problems.

Keep in mind that there is so much stray RF from all kinds of sources in our world today that it is essential that devices like pacemakers be designed to be immune.  The manufacturers know that and have done that.

Sam R. Kelly:
I had a Guidant (ICD) Implantable Cardioverter  Defibrilator implanted in my chest in late November of 2003. I am an Extra Class Amateur Radio Operator. I have on several occasions run approximately 100 to 800 watts into a 3 element triband yagi (Mosley TA-33) about 65 feet away from me at a height of 53 feet on 10 meters, 15 meters and 20 meters. I have also run approximately 100 to 1,000 watts on 40 & 75/80 meters into a Coaxial Dipole in the inverted V configuration, that runs directly over my shack at approximately 45 feet. Those operations have so far had NO EFFECT on my ICD. I did confer with manufacturer representatives and my cardiologist, prior to using my ham equipment.

Charles:
Pacemaker companies would be in big trouble if stray RF signals would routinely affect a pacemakers normal operation.

We are exposed to many RF signals every day.

The taxi cab that drives by you in a parking lot
The stock boy at Walmart using that HT
The TV station tower we drive by on the way to work
Paging towers in that building we made an appointment near downtown.
Mall security guard radios while shopping

Think about it...   etc etc etc..


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