Airport travel

Travelling 1st time w a PM soon. I know I have to alert TSA and ask to skip the scanners of any kind. Curious if anyone ever had an issue? Thinking it should be pretty routine for TSA these days.


14 Comments

no need to tell them

by Tracey_E - 2022-06-06 10:38:33

Once upon a time we had to tell them and be pulled aside for a pat down, but it's ok to walk through now. The 3D scanners are just xray. The metal detectors won't pick up the pacer or affect it, just don't linger. I fly regularly and never say a word. 

What Tracey said ... but ...

by LondonAndy - 2022-06-06 13:29:16

... I do the same as Tracey (my device was inserted in 2014) but I always take my Pacemaker ID card with me just in case anybody ever asks for it. They never have, even when in the early days I told them about it and avoided the scanners. I am 100% dependent, so I would definitely notice if there ever was any sort of interference. 

I have several medical conditions and so I also always wear a Medic Alert bracelet, which has key information engraved and a 24 hour emergency number (annual subscription cost) for more details, next of kin etc. I am not suggesting one is needed just for a pacemaker, but worth considering if you have other conditions too.

Security

by AgentX86 - 2022-06-06 18:21:04

There is really no need to declare your pacemaker.  If they're using the modern millimeter wave devices (where you go into the machine, stand on the footprints, and raise your arms) won't bother a pacemaker at all.  The old magnetic type can be a little more problematic. You should ask that the wand type not be used above your waist. This goes for sports or concert venues, too.  If anyone asks, then show them your PM card.

tsa security

by skigrl3 - 2022-06-06 22:53:29

 Most of what I have read online has been to avoid the arms in the air footprint thing and esp the hand wand so thanks for your reassuring input, all. I think I will be more at ease once I do it a couple of times.   One time I set off something that security said was from using the soap in the restroom so I guess the pacemaker part should be easy, LOL

scanners

by Tracey_E - 2022-06-07 10:04:57

The one where you put your arms in the air are 3D scanners and they use xray technology. Not sure where you would have read that it's a problem, but there's no way it can cause problems because it's just taking a picture. When the scanners were new, metal detectors were still a potential problem so I was told to ask for the scanner if it was available. For a few years, some airports still did pat downs but the ones with the 3D scanners would send me to that line when I told them I had a pacer. When I got my newest pacer in 2015, I was told it was fine to walk through the metal detectors so I no longer say anything. That goes for domestic and international travel, trains, courthouses, concerts, amusement parks- anywhere with security I just walk through.  I've been paced since 1994 and am on #5,  so have lived through the changes. 

The wands can potentially be a problem, or at least they could have been in the past. Newer pacers are very well shielded and not much affects them. Wands are concentrated metal detectors. They won't do any permanent damage but if held over the pacer long enough could theoretically put it in test mode for a few seconds or cause missed beats. TSA knows this and will not use one on us, particularly above the waist.

The times that's a potential problem aren't flying but at concerts and parks where the security staff isn't as well trained. If I'm ever wanded, I request below the waist only. Every once in a blue moon they'll argue with me, that's when I smile and say something like "please don't turn off my pacemaker" which is obviously a huge exxaggeration lol, but if they're untrained and weren't listening to me before, that will 100% get their attention.

Easy way around it, don't say anything and walk on through with everyone else. Lots of people have metal implants, not just pacemakers. Security sees them all day long. 

I do carry my id card. I've needed it twice in 25+ years, both times more than 10 years ago at federal buildings in DC. 

About the pacemaker card

by Gotrhythm - 2022-06-07 14:07:32

I always, always carry my card. Not because it's a big deal--it's just there with my driving licence which I always have for ID. These days you never know when you'll be asked for ID.

In 11 years I've only showed my pacemaker card twice, both times at an ER. It didn't make any difference to my treatment. What makes it noteworthy is that the intake staff was taken by surprise that I had it, and so grateful to have all the information they needed to fill out their forms. 

And as for airports, in my experience you can stand in the long, long line with all the people who don't have pacemakers and go through the same machines they do. No problem. Or if you say you have a pacemaker, you can get put in the much shorter line. Look a little wan, and the person with you gets the shorter line too.

It's my own little joke about how to play the "pacemaker card" to win.

Sssshhh Gotrhythm

by IAN MC - 2022-06-07 16:03:49

Without any doubt you can usually  get  through Security far more quickly if you declare that you have a pacemaker. I am, almost always , waiting for my non-pacemaker wife to join me en- route to Departures.

.........  BUT , if this becomes well-known ,every frequent flier will say that they have a PM . Even worse they may convince their Drs that they have bradycardia and need a PM ......anything to help them beat those airport queues !

..... so keep our little secret to yourself Gotrhythm

ian

Airport security queues

by AgentX86 - 2022-06-07 17:37:12

I've never gotten a better "deal" by declaring my PM.  I've always had to use the same queue, thought they will direct me to the millimeter wave scanner rather than the magnetometer, if both are in use, at the end of the queue. If only magnetometers are in use (rarely) they'll do something else.  "Recently", they've been using dogs to sniff for explosives, which is really easy.  They can't smell pacemakers. ;-)

which side of the pond

by Tracey_E - 2022-06-08 12:37:30

 I think in the US, it's all the same. I don't know of any airports that don't have both scanners and metal detectors, and they usually either only have one open or split passengers equally and randomly between them. UK is different.

I have TSA Precheck as well as Clear, the only time I'm ever in a security line for more than a minute or two has been outside the US. 

Airports

by CMH22567 - 2022-06-11 04:45:05

There are large signs asking passengers to advise staff if you have a pacemaker. 

A 30 women died after walking through scanner in 2014. (Google it).

Risk versers benifits your body your choice. 😁

airport scanners

by new to pace.... - 2022-06-11 13:17:05

CMH22567 your comment is from 2014.  I understand the scanners are now more  uptodate now, then they were in 2014. 

if you have read the comments before yours, you would see that others have not had any problems.

new to pace

CMH22567

by Gemita - 2022-06-13 14:35:18

I attach a Pacemaker Club link of when this story first broke in 2014.  You will need to copy and paste it into your general browser to open it.   It makes for interesting reading but clearly no firm conclusions can be reached on the exact cause of death.

https://www.pacemakerclub.com/message/17833/airport-scanner-causes-pacemaker-malfunction

 

 

lady in 2014

by Tracey_E - 2022-06-16 08:49:57

I followed the story at the time, but google isnt' bringing up anything but the original stories now. It was later found that the timing of passing through was coincidence, and the main reason she passed is she didn't get medical attention quickly after having a cardiac event. It was not the airport settings affecting the pacer. Thousands with pacers fly every day and there have been no similar stories in the 8 years since. As I said before, do what you are comfortable with, but current advice is it is perfectly safe for us to walk through the metal detectors. 

have always declared

by dwelch - 2022-06-25 01:56:31

with a few exceptions I have always declared.  Had pacers for 34 years.   

I have not followed up on the xray ones (hold your arms up), intially there were concerns from the industry and the pacer folks were looking into it, but...didnt follow up.   Even the older ones are actually not a problem for us.  

Here in us, bigger sporting event venues may have the older ones.  I declare, why not.  Was a few times I didnt, set the thing off, security tried to lecture me, whatever.   

I have carried my card, never used it or needed it (for security, etc), honestly the most I use it for is for this site, what year was my first one..math...okay that was x years ago...What year was my last one, etc...what brand were my leads again (I have four now, using three).

You might set off the older style ones so to avoid that just tell them, I often start with the person that first looks at your passport/ticket, because some airports do or at least did have a special line and sometimes you could get through faster.  Have not seen that in a while though...

Like coffee makers and hair dryers, etc, you really dont need to worry about these machines. 

You know you're wired when...

You have an excuse for gaining an extra ounce or two.

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I, too, am feeling tons better since my implant.