Operating a Chain Saw with a ICD device

Has anyone had difficulty using a chain saw with their ICD device? Its been a while since I have been on here. I have an BV ICD that serves both as a dual chamber pacemaker and difibrilator. I have heard the concerns from doctors and others, but I may need to operate a chain saw again due to us being around a lot trees here at home, and at our summer home up north. Got a tree down in the yard already. Do they make gloves specifically for this situation? Is there a particular chain saw that may be less severe on vibration? Thanks.  



by Theknotguy - 2020-02-11 09:15:14

I have a Medtronic pacemaker.  I've gotten along fine with running an 110 volt electric chainsaw and feel most of the warnings are just legal paperwork designed to prevent a potential lawsuit.  However, you have an ICD device and there are differences of which I am not aware.  But I'll move forward anyway.  

I feel the problems with chainsaws can be traced to the make/break type of engines where a magnet in the flywheel is used to generate the electrical spark to keep the engine running.  Idea being the EMF pulse generated goes all over the magnetic spectrum and can in some way affect the pacemaker/ICD.  For the ICD owner that could possibly mean triggering a heart shocking event.  Obviously not something you'd want to happen while running a chainsaw at full speed.  

For the pacemaker I've found very little on the EMF side bothers the pacemaker using standard, big box hardware store, off-the-shelf equipment.  I've written several times on this forum about running a large DeWalt 110 volt electrical drill, forgetting I have a pacemaker, and running the drill while my pacemaker was lying on top of the drill.  No problems.  Either the drill was well shielded or there wasn't enough EMF interference to bother the pacemaker.  But the drill, of course, had a warning to not use the drill if you had a pacemaker.  

Next question is what sized chain saw do you intend to use?  One of those 110 volt, dinky electrical saws, or one of the big 24 inch blade honkers with an extremely large engine? The size of the chain saw is going to make a big difference in the amount of EMF being thrown off and the amount of effort you have to expend to throw the thing around.  Discussion with my next door neighbor before using my dinky electric saw went into not holding the saw directly above my head while cutting something.  My response was that anyone holding a chain saw directly above their head while cutting deserves having a tree fall on them.  I feel it would be an effective way of removing yourself from the gene pool and if you ran it that way, you deserved what happened to you.    

Next is the size of trees and bushes you are attempting to tackle.  If you're going after a tree with a two foot diameter circumference, that's a lot of tree to tackle and you're going to need large equipment to handle it.  If you're just cleaning up fallen limbs and brush, that's another issue.  

So my question is if an EMF pulse would trigger the heart shock from your ICD?  Or what if you have a heart session that triggers the ICD shock.  Obviously  you wouldn't want that to happen with a chain saw running at full speed.  Also, not sure what your muscular reaction to the shock would be - would it cause you to squeeze the trigger and as you are going unconscious would you be waving a full sized, running chain saw around?  If so, the least of your worries would be your ICD.  

Sorry, but your question makes me shudder.  Because of the effects of a shock from the ICD has, I feel you would be in an extremely dangerous situation. There are numerous reports on this forum by ICD owners who say, "There I was, just walking through the yard, when I suddenly woke up, lying on the ground.  Never saw it coming."  So what would happen during that interval between getting the initial shock and waking up while lying on the ground could put you in a very dangerous situation.  For the event that triggered me getting my pacemaker, all I remember was turing the corner and everything went black.  For the person who observed what happened, they said it looked like I was doing the scarecrow dance from the Wizard of Oz before I hit the ground.  As much as I would like to run out and just start cutting, I feel with an ICD I'd have to limit myself to hand tools that would be less dangerous to myself and people around me.   


by ROBO Pop - 2020-02-11 20:46:02

I just bought an electric chainsaw to trim some large trees in my yard and was able to watch my son use it with no problems.

Seriously, you should have no problem. Rent a swa and try it. If you think anything is going on then an interrogation will show if there was interference...I highly doubt you'll see anything.

Vibration or EMI?

by AgentX86 - 2020-02-11 23:16:34

From your last sentence, it sounds like you've been told to avoid chain saws because of their vibration?  If this is the issue, vibration often fools the rate control option to raise the heart rate when it's not needed.  This isn't a huge problem but it may not feel right.

Otherwise, I have no idea why vibration should be a problem.


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