About to fly 1st time Post-PM

Once and for all -- I know that the consensus here is to just walk through airport security.  But I'm still a bit anxious/confused.  It seems like there are two technologies:  1) a "metal detector" which one should not walk through; or 2) "advanced imaging technology," i.e. the backscatter machine, which we should just walk through, although you do have to stand in place for few moments on this one.  You can be wanded, but the wand shouldn't linger over the PM site.  Is this accurate? 

I plan to just mention it to the TSA peeps before walking through anything, and let me tell me what they want.  

Below is what the TSA says about it:

Advanced imaging technology can facilitate your screening and reduces the likelihood of a pat-down. You should not be screened by a walk-through metal detector if you have an internal medical device such as a pacemaker. Consult with your physician prior to flying.

If you choose to not be screened through the advanced imaging technology or you alarm the walk-through metal detector, you will undergo a pat-down screening instead.


Airports and pacemakers

by MrTech - 2019-12-02 14:19:52

I really wouldn’t worry. The risk is so low, especially if its s pacemaker . If for whatever reason they do insist on a hand wand, then tell them you have a device and ask them to not place it directly over over the device. Or if they insist, pass over the device quickly and not lingering over it.



Last time

by Theknotguy - 2019-12-02 15:12:03

Last time I went through the airport the TSA people said, "Yeah, yeah, we know, you gotta pacemaker.  Now go through the security check." No problems.

I show them my pacemaker card when they ask for the driver's license/passport and that seems to take care of the problem.  You don't have to worry. 

airport scanners

by islandgirl - 2019-12-02 15:18:27

Search on your computer---sudden cardiac arrest airport scanner study.  They conducted a study, published in May 2019, that shows body scanners have no effects on pms and icds.

Go to your device manufacturer's website to find out specific information.  Ask your EP if you are still concerned.  

Enjoy your travels!

nothing to worry about

by dwelch - 2019-12-02 15:51:23

32 years with pacers, before 9/11 obviously as well as post.

The machines wont hurt you can walk right through or stand there with your arms up and your pants falling off since we have to take our belts off.

The hand wands are the ones that you might not want over the device although I think in some country that didnt speak english they kept waving it over mine.  no issues.

The pat down is no big deal, had that done many times before the stand and drop your pants machines arrived.  

99% of the time I just tell them I have a pacemaker.  in the usa the first tsa person that checks your id and ticket, as back in the day there was a special line, today they send you to any line but I still do it as a habit.  Then after you do the belt/shoes/computer/backpack thing you tell that person at the metal detector if you are even in a metal detector line that you have a pacemaker.  they will either send you to the drop your pants machine or have you go around the metal detector and call for a male or female pat down depending on what they assume your gender is assuming you fit into one of the two popular genders.  Then they pat you down, while you watch your stuff or try to with all the folks passing by maybe taking it.  the old days my stuff ws on a normal belt and I was in a special room hoping it all didnt get stolen.   

Used to be the special line was faster sometimes unless there were wheelchairs in front of you then could take a while longer.

The last so many airports in the usa I have dealt with have the drop the pants machines, no big deal, just behave like a normal person, tell the two folks you have a pacer and they will send you through like a normal person. 

Have not seen the wands at the airports in a while, I still see them at other facilities that have metal detectors.  Other facilites like sporting events, concerts, etc often do not have a way to go around the metal detector, I just go on through then tell them after if it beeps.   

Carry my pm cards, have never had to use them, except to update them if a phone number or doc changes.  Usually I get a new card with every device so that generally covers that.


by Bionic Beat - 2019-12-02 15:59:38

I've always just shown them my card and had a pat down.  Easy peasy.

Just watch your stuff on the conveyor belt or ask one of them to grab it for you.

Enjoy your flights.


Best Wishes, 

Bionic Beat



now, about that body jewelry . . .

by Violet West - 2019-12-02 16:17:05

Thanks all.  Fun travelling with metal!


They used to be a lot twitcher about the jewelry, but I think they've seen everything by now. 

To walk through or not to walk through.....

by Cheryl B - 2019-12-02 20:17:24

I go through the body scanner without asking.  But this past August in Myrtle Beach, there was a sign that said "Tell us if you have a PM."  So I did, and they did their "sorry I have to touch you there" speech, and proceeded to pat me down.  No biggie.  I used to point to my left breast and say to the TSA people, "Okay?"  Most of the time they knew what I meant, but not always.  I'm sure there were some who actually thought in their mind, "Is she asking if the left one looks okay???"  LOL.  Life is better with an ICD.

Cheryl B.



by Tracey_E - 2019-12-03 13:39:26

The scanners are xray technology so won't do anything to a pacer.

Metal detectors used to sometimes be able to put it in test mode for a second if we lingered too long, so the recommendation was pat down. However, new ones are a different alloy that won't set it off, and they are shielded so that they won't cause interference. 

Many airports now have signs that say if you have a medical device, ask your doctor. They no longer say tell them you have the pacer. My doctor said walk on through so that's what I do. 

The wand is a concentrated version of the metal detector so theoretically should be waist down only but realistically it won't hurt us. TSA is better trained than that and will not try to wand us. It's the 12 year olds working security at concerts and amusment parks that will pull out the wand. I've found the best way to handle them is imply that the wand will turn off the pacemaker, after which they usually wave me on through and are afraid to get their wand near me. But that was my old one. My newest one can walk through so I don't say anything anymore. I've done trains, planes (domestic and international), cruise ships, concerts, amusement parks, courthouses.... no issues walking through. I've never set it off, I've never felt anything. 

Have a great trip. 

Airport security

by AgentX86 - 2019-12-03 17:16:50

Both my EP and Medtronic tech tod me that I'd probably ok with modern (millimeter wave) security scanners but don't go in the overflow lines where they're using the older magnetometers or if the millimeter wave scanners are down. Also to never let them scan me above the waist with the hand scanners.

I was also advised to tell them ahead of time that I had a pacemaker but that I could go through the scanner normally. This way, if there is an issue,  they'd know ahead of time and wouldn't send me to Gitmo.

The pat-downs can be pretty personal.

As with any of these things, listen to your EP. We may have different issues that require different responses.

I flew!

by Violet West - 2019-12-16 20:27:49

Just to post a coda here, at both airports I informed about the PM and they directed me to the advancted tech backscatter machine, saying "this is the one you want -- not the other one" (presumably, the older, "metal detector" one they have on the pre-approved list line).  

I did get a very thorough pat down in my home, El Paso airport, but none on the way back from Portland/PDX.  Guess they're more familiar with body jewelry in Portland! 

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