Chain saw use

I am a part time farmer and have many needs to use a gas chain saw. I hear that we(Biventricular pacers) should not use them or at least as a rule should not use them. I don't quite understand the full reason for this. Some say that because of the way your hands are positioned when holding them that the spark from the firing mechanism can travel from your hands through your ICD and cause it to malfunction. I don't see how it can do this because what you are holding is all plastic. I also have heard others say they are using chain saws all the time with no problems. I just had my biventricular installed in Dec(2009). I don't plan to use a chain saw in the next 2-3 months but I really do have a need to use a chainsaw often and would like to hear from those who have either knowledge or experience in this area.
I welcome all comments on this subject.
God bless you all.


Chain & Pacemaker

by SMITTY - 2010-01-14 01:01:16

Hello John,

A risk from using a chin saw, be it gasoline or electric, is real, but it does not exist for most of us.

The problem comes form any electrical source in the form of the electromagnetic field generated by the ignition system. While it is a small EMF, there is the possibility of it interfering with the operation of the pacemaker, however if you keep the motor at least 6" from your pacemaker there will be no harm.

As the time goes by you will hear more and more "don't do" for your pacemaker. They tell us these things because I guess there may be about one chance in a big, big number of the pacemaker being affected. To me it is a case of since they don't know, jut say "don't" and they will have both hands over there hind end in the event somebody does have a problem.

I'm not pacemaker dependant so I never worry about anything affecting my pacemaker. If I get in to a strong EMF, or too close to magnet, I'm sure I'll feel the effects the same as I do when they put the magnet over my pacemaker during a checkup. In which case I would move away from that area, or item, and expect my pacemaker to return to normal operation with no harm done.

There is one other thing you may need to take into consideration. Most pacemakers being implanted today have a rate response feature. Not all have this feature turned on, but if yours is on, then the vibration from the saw will probably cause the rate response to increase your heart rate. I have an electric chain saw and I was getting enough vibration out of it to activate my rate response, until I had the sensitivity turned down. Just sawing off a 4" limb would cause my heart rate to jump up to 120+ and I don't need that.

So, I say use the chain saw and don't worry about the EMF from it bothering your pacemaker.



by tuck3lin - 2010-01-14 01:01:25

I've been pacing for the last 15 months and recently picked up my chainsaw to down a very large maple tree that has been causing me roof problems. Other than previously using the chainsaw for quick limbing a couple of times, this is the most saw work I've done since the implant. Been out there cutting for several hours over a couple of weekends. So far, no detectable ill effects whatsoever. Made the wife nervous at first, but she's adapted. A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. :-) We also need more firewood.

With my seven year old Stihl, everything seems to be plastic-encased, including an non-exposed plug and hardened plastic handles (non-conductive). Everything is so insulated, I don't think it would be possible to conduct a charge. My dad had an old "loggers" chainsaw with a longer bar, open plug, metal housing, and metal handles. I could see how using that saw might have been more of an issue.


by Red1958 - 2010-01-14 05:01:08

I bought my stihl 361 and a new harley after i had my crt-d put in because they said i cant

Saw away..

by TLR - 2010-01-14 10:01:19

I believe that most of the "you can't do this" nonsense spouted by the manufacturers comes from an over-zealous don't-sue-me culture that seems to be taking over common sense.
The reason they say you shoudn't use chainsaws is the EMF from the spark plug. Well, not only is that so miniscule but most modern pacers are now built with interference protection.
The paperwork I was given told me I shouldn't use a chainsaw, strange how back in October I was 60ft up a tree trimming branches with a chainsaw - no ill effects. Apparently I should avoid motorcycles too, also due to EMF from the engine and charging mechanism, sorry but I don't ride with my pacer attached to the side of my fairing instead I sit on the seat like normal people, and to this date I have ridden many miles with no ill effects.
Can't use an electric leaf blower - BS. Can't walk through security arches, errrr..well I've been to court many times and have to go through them and no ill efffects yet.
My job involves the use of firearms, radios and plenty of physical activity. My colleagues know of my PM but many people don't and are often shocked when I tell them about it as to look at me you'd never know. Adapt or die, never let having a PM stop you.

**DISCLAIMER** These are my own personal opinions and attitude to being paced. I would not suggest you don't heed the instructions from your pacer's manufacturer as although it has not ruined me it may you. Take care out there.

come again

by John Deere Junkie - 2010-01-14 11:01:28

Red 1958,
I don't know if your comment was conplete or not. All I saw was one sentence. I'm not sure if you meant to say more or not. I read---- (I bought my stihl 361 and a new harley after i had my crt-d put in because they said i cant).

Electrical Interferance???

by donb - 2010-01-14 11:01:30

Hi, I'm an old timer with nearly 18 PM years experience and have been super carefull avoiding use of arc welding, chain saws but in the last few years I have been doing both.
One of the precautions with chain saws is if we have lightneaded problems we could physically get hurt probably more so than PM problems. I suppose with any saw keeping saw extended at arm length would keep electrical interference at a low level.

I hesitated with arc welding for years, used gas welding for small projects. I checked with Medtronic engineering years ago and was told that making a gimmick out of the cables, (putting twists into cables like a rope would cut down on Magnetic fields). Also, always attach ground to work piece real close to weld. And, most welding could be done using no more than 125 amps and keeping the weld atarms length.

I have done quite a bit of arc welding with no effects in the past 2 years. As I have a St Jude PM now I double checked with them also, especially Mig & Tig welding, the lady said, Keep some distance from the machine as it puts out high frequency square wave fields, but I should be OK as long as I didn't exceed 400 amps. I didn't really buy that remark as that sounds way out. Sooo, I haven't had enough guts to do any Tig.

AS we all have these questions, guess the best bet is to check with engineering from our PM manufacturer and get their opinion giving the model & serial number of our PM.
Of course, it always helps to also give them a little background of ourselves to get them to open up. Thought you and others might be interested on these topics so we don't have to fear working or being near equipment. Being in TV & Appliance sales & repair, I was told Microwave Ovens, no problem, just go ahead and work on them. Thought I could use as excuse not to repair, didn't work and now you just throw them away. That was 18 years ago. Forgot to mention, I still own the farm, that's litterly, could take that 2 ways. donb

Vibration levels

by shocked21 - 2021-03-20 11:58:50

Hello, Has anyone researched vibtation levels in chainsaws? I had an ICD defib/pacemaker installed in Jan of 2021. I cut 3-4 cord of fire wood a year with a Husky 455 Rancher. Should I research lower vibration saws, or has anyone?

Thank you,

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