Magnet placed on pacemaker due Direct Laryngoscopy procedure

I had a direct laryngoscopy (removal of a cyst on my throat).  The anesthesiologist placed a magnet on top of my pacemaker to allow the surgeon to work with her instruments.  The reason was the throat was too close to the the pacemaker.  After the surgery, I noticed my heart was very weak, and my pacemaker was pacing at a fast rate.  I then consulted with my pacemaker nurse who did a repacing to slow down the rate.  I noticed though after se did that, the number of years left for my battery went down from 1 year 7 months to 1 year 3 months.  It was put in on Feb 17, 2011.  I am just sharing with everyone.  Also if you have any similar experience of having a magnet placed on your pacemaker. please share.  For this surgery I was told to have MRI prior, but the release I had to sign listed very disturbing things that could go wrong with my pacemaker, including my possible death, so I decided to go with CT scan.  I try to pay attention so I can make better decision.  



by AgentX86 - 2021-09-04 22:12:17

The magnet should have put the PM into a known state (fixed pacing rate, no feedback, RR off) and then resored the setthings after it was removed.  Did they adjust your setting before?  IOW, did the "magnet" come with a PM programmer?  When I had an MRI, there was a device tech on hand to preprogram my PM to the above mentioned "known state", then he came back to original reload my settings after.

The MRI release is SOP.  You sign a release for any medical procedure anymore, pacemaker or not. Pacemakers do pose a special problem and makes everyone more paranoid than usual.



I agree with Agent

by crustyg - 2021-09-05 03:13:15

The 'magnet' response for PMs reverses automatically when removed.  Magnets do NOT reprogram the PM to new settings, all they do is put the PM into a fixed pacing mode, where the paced output rate is related to remaining battery life.  It's a safety feature so that if you are in an accident in the boonies where there are no PM-programming machines the medical staff can force your PM to a fixed output and find out how close your PM's battery is to end of life.  The pacing rate is usually quite a lot higher than your normal resting rate.

Many medical procedures carry a risk of death - even a tiny one has to be included in the consent otherwise it's not a valid consent.  Being carried in a motor vehicle also carries the risk of death - just you don't think about it very often.

If you know that your PM's predicted battery life went down from 19 to 15months it implies that you did have a PM programmer session fairly soon before the laryngoscopy...  Ten years PM battery life is decent - the remaining-months prediction calculation isn't precise and battery voltage over time towards the end of battery life is not linear.

magnet rate

by dwelch - 2021-09-14 12:19:40

The magnet turns your rate into a voltmeter basically.   a simple test is to put the magnet on and look at the heart rate, look that up in a table. that device and/or brand will have a range.   I want to say the rate is in the 70s give or take, but I may be very wrong.  in either case it will make you feel sped up or slowed down based on where you were before the magnet was applied.  being in an OR laying down you are probably at your with pacer resting rate, so one would hope this sped you up.  But also understand you were in an OR getting something done, so there are stresses that come with that that affect your rate, along with anything they give you to knock you out or calm you down, etc.   so there is a combination of effects here.

the magnet is like the test button on your fire alarm puts it in a specific mode (not alarm mode, but a test mode) and when you release it it goes back to normal, same with the magnet mode on the pacer.   

so google pacemaker magnet rate,  first thing I see is from medtronic that says normal is 85bpm and when it shows 65bpm it is time for replacement.   before these take home boxes that talk to the pacer, we had a box you place your phone on and a magnet.  Like a modem the ekg was converted into audio signals into the phone and extracted on the other end (modulate/demodulate). and yes there were wrist straps for the ekg.  they could see the ekg as well as see the rate for the magnet portion of that phone call...


and some boston scientific shows 100bpm good, 90, elective replacement, 85 need to replace.   so for many of us I assume the magnet would really mess with our rate while applied.  esp if at rest

You know you're wired when...

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Member Quotes

My eight year old son had a pacemaker since he was 6 months old. He does very well, plays soccer, baseball, and rides his bike. I am so glad he is not ashamed of his pacemaker. He will proudly show his "battery" to anyone.