How would I know?

I've had my PM for 8+ months now and I'm wondering how would I know (how would I feel) if something were interfering with my pacemaker? For example, I gave blood today and apparently there is a machine they are supposed to turn off while I'm in the room. If that didn't happen, how would I know or what would I expect to feel?




by J.B. - 2009-08-18 04:08:07


There may be a 100% sure answer to your question, but I don't know it if there is. So, I may be wrong, but from what I know about these things is if I run into something (to be more exact an electromagnetic field - so far as I know that is the only thing that will affect the operation of the pacemaker) that inferrers with it I will feel the pacemaker do the same thing it does when they put a magnet over it during a checkup. That magnet shifts it from beib an on demand pacemaker (one that helps only when my heart's natural pacemaker is not doing its job) to what I call a fixed rate pacemaker. A fixed rate pacemaker is one that will take over my heart beat and hold it at a fixed rate even though my heart's natural pacemaker may be trying to help it beat When this happens I may feel very slight pain to somewhat more intense discomfort. Or it just may be a case where I know my heart beat is out of kilter.

The good part about all this is that when the interference stops my pacemaker will return to doing what it does best for me and no harm will be done. The only other thing I can suggest is that if you happen to get into the presence of something that makes you think your pacemaker/heartrate is acting up is wait for a minute or so and if the heart rate doesn't return to what you think is normal, change locations. And that change may need to be only 10 to 25 feet.

Now I want to wait and see what some the people that know about these things have to say.


The other question...

by ADC - 2009-08-18 04:08:18

The other question would be if it could leave lasting soreness in my chest or upper back? Or any other thing?

Thanks for the feedback.


not much different

by Tracey_E - 2009-08-18 04:08:25

Interference doesn't really turn the pm off, it just puts it in the test mode they use when we go for checks. You might feel a little light headed, probably nothing more than that. You might not feel it at all, many things they say cause interference don't actually. Newer pm's are well shielded and not many things bother them.

Hard to tell

by ElectricFrank - 2009-08-18 04:08:57

The problem is that we have pacemakers for so many reasons that the symptoms of malfunction aren't consistent. As others have mentioned interference can also affect the pacer in several different ways.

As an example in my case, I have 100% AV block. If the pacer goes into fail safe mode my HR would drop to something like 60 and not respond to activity. I might feel a bit tired, but other wise OK..real hard to be sure of a problem. On the other hand if something shut the pacer down entirely, my HR would drop to somewhere around 25-35. This would definitely be noticeable. It was where I was before I get the pacer. Felt lousy and weak. For many it would mean passing out.

Since my resting HR is around 60 most of the time I use a simple test if I suspect anything wrong with the pacer (or my heart). I walk briskly around the room or outside for a couple of minutes and then check my HR again. If it doesn't rise with this sort of activity then I have a problem.



by Hot Heart - 2009-08-19 04:08:28

Ive been pacing for 10 months now, I work in prison and go through various magnetic fields, I fly regularly and go in shopping malls. The only time that I have ever felt anything interfere with my pm was when i was on holiday in Bath. I was in the Roman Baths and they have these hand held transmitor things that you listen to when you get to certain areas that explain what the different exhibits are. I'd been in there a few mins and suddeny felt my heart slowing down speeding up and I felt really wierd. I went straight outside sat down for a couple of mins and felt fine. Checked with them afterwards and they said that someone else with a pm had a similar experience. Been to a couple of other places since, gone round but not used the transmitters and been fine.

Hope this helps HH

My experience with EMF

by Linky - 2010-03-07 07:03:56


Working in the electricity industry this is a hazard I get to encounter often enough no matter how careful I can be. (All it takes is for an Engineer to forget I have the PM & turn on HV test equipment a couple of metres away from me). Anyway, for myself if it is minor EMF I will go hot instantly, face goes red, start to feel like I am burning from the inside out, can get slightly faint, feel sick in the stomach. If is is a strong signal that is a different ball game - Substations are not good to be near with a PM - when I am near strong EMF the leads will feel like they are burning, the pacemaker will do a loud click - people nearby will hear it, it will start whirring, my heart will go into palpitations, you feel like you are in a microwave & start to cook from the inside out, a couple of times it has felt like the pacemaker itself was going to split in two & go dizzy really quickly. If if is minor EMF & you move away from the source 5-10 mins all back to normal and doesn't always register anything on your yearly download. If I have been near major EMF it can take a couple of hours to feel normal and interestingly doesn't always show as an episode on the dowload data either. To date it has not stopped the PM working, I've had my PM since 2003 for SVT arrhythmias and each year I am always of great interest to my Dr when he does the download to see what has happened. For those of you thinking I am some crazy willingly going near major EMF each time has been totally unavoidable in a work situation due to workplace evacuation in an emergency. The other times is just when idiot co-workers forget and turn stuff on right near me. Cheers.

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Member Quotes

I've seen many posts about people being concerned about exercise after having a device so thought I would let you know that yesterday I raced my first marathon since having my pacemaker fitted in fall 2004.