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Author Topic: Pace makers and Amateur radios  (Read 375 times)
N4AHZ
Member

Posts: 7




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« on: August 19, 2004, 04:23:13 PM »

I have been told if you have a pace maker put in that the rf from a ham radio will cause severe problems for the heart devise.  Is this true or does anyone know of the facts from experience.
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KG6OBC
Member

Posts: 28




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« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2004, 04:32:31 PM »

i know a ham how has one and is very active with radio, on there HT and base radio. i do not know much about pace makers but i say ask your doctor and maybe call the maker and see what they say. thats all the info i know.

73,
KG6OBC
Justin
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K8LEA
Member

Posts: 69


WWW

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« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2004, 04:36:51 PM »

I can't give a yes or no, but a friend (now deceased) had two of them, and it didn't seem to keep his Ham Radio activity down much.

We did nail him pretty good one day - Joe (WD8PRG) came into the restaurant where the rest of (the Liberty Repeater Group) were having lunch.  As usual, there were five or more HT's on the table.  I told him to please turn off his pacemaker because it was bothering our radios.

He thought it was funny, too....

My own view is that the pacemaker people are aware that people are around microwaves, cellphones, and cordless telephones.  They've got to be building the things to be resistant to low power (say "under five watts"?) RF, and probably well behaved at higher power levels.

I don't think a pacemaker wearer is in serious danger if he or she is near a more powerful radio, but it might be noticeable.

Stu K8LEA
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AA4PB
Member

Posts: 12667




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« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2004, 04:44:52 PM »

I believe it is the American Heart Association that has info on that on their web site. Essentially they say that there is no problem with Amateur Radio, CB, microwave ovens, etc.

My wife got a pacemaker and so I looked into it (her doctor didn't know or wouldn't commit). Anyway, she hasn't had any problems and I'm still on the air.
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20542




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« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2004, 04:49:03 PM »

"I've been told..."

Who told you?  Can you ask them for more information, or at least where they got any information they have?

I've absolutely never heard of this, and I've worked pretty closely with one of the largest implantable cardiac pacemaker companies in the world, St. Jude Medical, who manufactures pacemakers here in Sylmar, CA.

I'd recommend you contact the manufacturer for information on "electromagnetic susceptibility," on which they assuredly have reams of data, and see what they say.

If your particular device is made by St. Jude, they have a lot of stuff on their website, http://www.sjm.com

WB2WIK/6
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AA4PB
Member

Posts: 12667




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« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2004, 05:06:19 PM »

From the American Heart Association:

Devices with little or no risk
Home appliances — CB radios, electric drills, electric blankets, electric shavers, ham radios, heating pads, metal detectors, microwave ovens, TV transmitters and remote control TV changers, in general, have not been shown to damage pacemaker pulse generators, change pacing rates or totally inhibit pacemaker output. Several of these devices have a remote potential to cause interference by occasionally inhibiting a single beat. However, most people can continue to use these household devices without significant worry about damage or interference with their pacemakers.

http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=24
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KA5N
Member

Posts: 4380




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« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2004, 08:31:07 PM »

I went through the aspect of perhaps having to have a pacemaker implanted (turns out I had a much simpler problem)and was worried about the interaction of ham radio and the implant.  
Your best information comes from your cardiologist.  Mine gave me a guide for the brand and type he expected to use.  This contained a lot of information and a web site that explained everything I wanted to know.  Basically there is not much to worry about in everyday living and operating an amateur station. Ask your doctor.
Good luck Allen
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K7KBN
Member

Posts: 2756




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« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2004, 08:51:24 PM »

Hey WIK --

I have one of your St. Jude aortic valves stuck somewhere...oh, yeah!  Top of my left ventricle!  It's been there since 1994 when I had a plumber remodel some piping and get some clogs out of there...

Little tiny valve, but you should have seen the plumber's bill!  (Thank you, Federal Blue Cross! - and thank you, St. Jude.  WIK - on behalf of my wife and myself, thank you, too!)
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
W7FRS
Member

Posts: 210




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« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2004, 10:31:56 PM »

My wife has a Medtronics Kappa dr 701 pacemaker.  When I first started into ham radio, I managed to key her chest with cw on hf.  Or at least she could feel it. She thought it was funny.  I decided my poorly tuned antenna with coax running along the walls parallel to all the other wires wasn't such a good idea.  Medtronics wasn't terribly helpful with info.  They had some recommendations for cb.  They curtainly didn't tell me to sell my radio.  Since then, my practice has been to keep rf out of the shack to the maximum extent that I can.  My magnetic loop antenna is outside.  Antennas are as far away as possible.  I haven't had any problems since the above mentioned incident.

The arrl antenna book has several chapters about pacemakers and ham radio in the rf safety section.  It's too lengthy to quote what is written here.  I'd suggest you find a copy and read it.  Also as is mentioned int the handbook, ask your physician who will probably put you in contact with the technical representitive of the pacemaker manufacturer.  Then get back to hamming unless they gave you an inferior quality pacemaker with poor shielding from EM fields.  

73, John


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DD0BQ
Member

Posts: 1




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« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2004, 04:27:04 AM »

The advise from W7FRS is very good.

It may be of interest to all, that EVERY radio amateur in Germany is required to file a "notice"
on the management and control of "electromagnetic susceptibility or compatibility" with the German Telecommunication Authority before he or she can operate his/her base station.

The main concern is not only the health and welfare of patients with cardiac pace makers but the health and welfare of all persons including the operator in close proximity (depending on the antenna and its radiation pattern as well as the power used, this may be 20 feet or more)  of the antenna and the entire station. The owner/operator has to show that he/she owns and controls the area of potential em interference or harm.

The issue caused much debate here in Germany, but it is requirement since January 2003.


Commercial broadcasters including telephone companies
are also required to file such notices.

I also use an AEA IsoLoop magnetic antenna.

I never operate when other people are on my balcony -
where I have my antenna installed - or on my patio/terrace.

I'm not an expert on em, but I believe that it´s better to be save than to be sorry.

With my best regards

Michael


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N8FVJ
Member

Posts: 692




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« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2004, 08:18:51 AM »

I know of a story back in the '70s of a CBer operating high power that an elderly lady could feel on their pacemaker next store. I understand within a few days of complaint, the CBer was visited by the FCC and lost all their gear plus an order to cease all future transmitting or go to jail.

 
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AA4PB
Member

Posts: 12667




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« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2004, 02:21:30 PM »

Old "ham tails". Check with your doctor, the American Heart Association, etc. Also remember that doctors are afraid of being sued these days so they may find it safer to tell you not to get within 2 miles of a ham radio rather than what they really think. In other words, check more than one source.
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