High Voltage Transmission Lines - Interference?

Hi, I have a medtronic pacemaker (it is in bipolar mode - I think that's relevant to my question based on my research thus far!).  I am considering buying a home that is adjacent to high voltage transmission lines (230kV).  The backyard literally backs up to the transmission lines/right of way, so they would be very close.  Would this be a concern for my pacemaker?  I have found some articles and comments here and elsewhere that it is fine to pass under these lines, but I would be living 24/7 in very close proximity!  



Transmission lines

by AgentX86 - 2023-03-09 15:58:43

230KV isn't all that high.  Yes, it's fine to live in proximity to these lines.  There is a lot of folklore about radiation hazards from power lines.  "Folklore" is being kind.

Put it this way, you're not concerned in the short term, so why worry about the long term (WRT to your pacemaker)?  If it's not going to cause a problem in the first minute, it won't.


by jasperthecat - 2023-03-09 16:16:03

Thanks so much for your response! Yes I wasn't too worried about the radiation stuff but there seem to be studies indicating it is possible for transmission lines to interfere with pacemakers. My concern is - how do I know if it's interfering (causing a problem in the first minute as you say)? My pacemaker is correcting intermittent AV block and so I can't really tell it's working except that if I have a bad episode of vasovagal issues I don't actually pass out. It does pace me 25% of the time though. I did feel bad once when they did the annual device testing. Will it just feel like that if there is interference? 

Annual device testing

by AgentX86 - 2023-03-09 22:38:23

One, actually two, of the tests are intended to make you feel bad. One, the heart rate is lowered until your heart takes over.  If it doesn't (dependent) you feel like you're in a falling elevator. The other is a capture test.  They lower the pacing voltage until the heart doesn't respond (capture), then use that number to set the pacing voltage (for a 2:1 "capture threshold").

If your pacemaker weren't working, you'd feel like that all the time.

Edit:  Bipolar mode further reduces the possibility of any problems.

From what I know...

by fattima - 2023-03-10 17:47:11

I work in a mediacl physics team (I'm their IT guy) and one of my co workers has done a lot of study on the pacemakers and the effect of radiation and EMF on them.

He has assured me that it takes a fairly large EMF field to cause issues in modern pacemakers. I work near MRI machines, so my implant has limited where I go. But I can be realtively close to the EMF fields safely.

You could hire or buy a gauss meter to do some measurements if it puts your mind at rest. You could then discuss the results with the implant company to see if it is a concern.


by piglet22 - 2023-03-11 06:49:47

Yes, I had my bad moment yesterday during a full face to face.

It's short but unpleasant.

There is a lot hogwash talked about electromagnetic radiation (EMR) and despite living in a sea of it, natural and man-made, it hasn't killed off half the population.

That's not to say ignore it.

I often wonder how pigeons manage to sit on power lines, but live workers have the full Faraday cage steel chain mail. Something to do with capacity or calloused feet.

The highest voltage I got near to was 400kV and that was at a continent to continent interconnector. It was the only site I've seen that had an electric fence to keep people out.

Needless to say, I'm still here and suffered no ill effects. Nearly half a million crackling volts can certainly get your attention though.

High voltage

by piglet22 - 2023-03-14 08:10:37

This came from a cardiology textbook on what to avoid with pacemaker.

electrocautery during surgery – this can cause sensing problems

therapeutic radiation

cardioversion/defibrillation – this should be carried out using the lowest effective energy with the paddles in the anterior–posterior positions on the body of the patient

mobile phones – these should not be placed in a shirt pocket next to the pacemaker

car batteries – batteries can produce large magnetic fields. Again, this is only a problem if the person is leaning over and the pacemaker comes close to the battery

high-voltage cables

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