Donating used pacemaker/ICD devices

My friend is a funeral director. He regularly removes devices prior to cremation. He said that a recycling company picks them up. The funeral home can donate proceeds to a charity. It's not approved to reuse pacemakers in the USA.

However, there's a program where living donors can send in their own used pacemaker/ICDs to potentially be refurbished for other countries to donate to those who can't afford pacemakers.  

If you're getting a replacement pacemaker, you may want to look into it. If looks easy, there's a form to print and a link to use so that they send you a postage paid box to send it to the University program. 
You would then send in your own device when you get a new one implanted.

Info from the form:

Consent - Research – Pacemaker or Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) – Living Donor

You are getting a new pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) or you no longer need your device and you will have your device removed. When your old device is removed, your pacemaker or ICD may still work and could be donated to a patient in need. There are patients throughout the world, mostly in poorer countries, that cannot afford pacemakers or ICDs. These patients do not have access to these same life-saving devices.
Michigan Medicine is working with World Medical Relief, interested citizens, physicians, and funeral directors across the United States to help these patients in need through a program called Project My Heart Your Heart. The project is collecting pacemakers and ICDs for use in a research study to determine if reusing these devices is safe and effective. You may be able to help save a life by donating your device to our project. There is no cost to you or to your insurance company. There are no additional risks for donating and you do not have to donate.


thanks for this information

by new to pace.... - 2022-07-28 12:00:53

Thanks Lavender for this information will send this along to my sister who will in be charge of the pacemaker.

new to pace

Sounds Like a Great Idea

by SeenBetterDays - 2022-07-28 12:43:05

That sounds like a brilliant way to avoid wasting devices and help people who don't have access to pacemaker devices.  I wonder if there is an equivalent scheme in the UK, I'll have to look into it.  Thanks Lavender.

The site

by Lavender - 2022-07-28 13:04:18

There's an email address on that site that you could contact and ask if they're interested in pacemaker donation from outside the USA.  I would think it's just a matter of the shipping. 

Links below are worth a read

by Gemita - 2022-07-28 13:58:04

Hi Lavender, we have had this subject come up numerous times on Pacemaker Club and it is a wonderful way to try to help those less fortunate.  

I attach a link “Pacemaker recycling:  A notion whose time has come" for further reading.  Infection and device malfunction are the main concerns in regard to pacemaker re-utilization, yet many studies have shown that pacemaker re-use is not associated with increased infection risk or higher mortality compared with new device implantation which I found quite surprising.  Have a look at the first link below and a Pacemaker Club link on the same subject which may give some useful info SeenBetterDays about a possible UK contact.  Okay, please see third link

Re using pacemakers

by Aberdeen - 2022-07-28 14:27:22

I had a dual lead pacemaker implanted in January 2020. I had to have a CRT pacemaker instead in May 2020.  Mine would have been perfect to be reused as it was only 4 months old. I wonder what happened to it?


by Lavender - 2022-07-28 14:50:25

Thank you Gemita. I read the links you provided. 
It would be nice if this information was saved on perhaps the "Learn" tab of this website for future reference.  I recently looked into the Learn tab and saw that there are a lot of resources there.🥸


by cardifflass - 2022-07-29 05:05:44

I had never thought of that.

I did read the surgeons instruction manual for my pacemaker (after I had it fitted) and it said that the old one should be returned to the manufacturer for download and examination, with a view to improving models in the future.



by Gemita - 2022-07-29 07:38:12

I will see what can be done to place this information somewhere where it can be readily seen for future reference.   I only have certain moderator permissions, so I will need to contact Admin to ask about this.

In the meantime, I will check to make sure we haven't already provided a contact link on this site for those members wishing to look into donating their pacemakers in the future. Yes there is so much useful information here if we have time to look for it.  

Just a tip, the Search facility here under "Q", top right, doesn't always give lots of hits.  What I do when searching for past Pacemaker Club posts is type into my main general browser something like Pacemaker Club recycling of device say and this will search the general internet for all Pacemaker Club relevant posts and It will usually give many more results.  This is another useful more recent Pacemaker Club thread about recycling:-

Always keep mine

by wendikt - 2022-08-01 14:13:25

I have every pacemaker I've had. I just got number 5, so I have 4 previous ones in a little keepsake box. I had no idea you could donate them! I just thought it was cool to keep them. The first 2, they gave them to me straight out of the operating room, same day. The second 2, the rules had changed and you had to send them off to be cleaned and decomissioned. Then they mailed them to me with my name printed on them and "Not for human reuse" printed on them as well. Interesting...


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