Interference from lawn mower

Recent recipient (9-17-18) of a Medtronic Quad CRT-D.  Strange experience which maybe can be explained by someone with more "mileage" on their ICD than I.

CRT placement recommended as a result of A-Flutter which was converted in January.  As a precaution the CRT was implanted.

A day or two before the surgery, I mowed our lawn ~ 1.5 acres with a Zero Turn, gasoline powered (B&S 22HP twin cylinder) and had absolutely nothing in the way of any discomfort, exertion, etc. I'm sitting and relaxing enjoying the ride and solitude. ;)

Then a week or so after the surgery, mindful of and following all medical precautions, I again mowed the lawn.  I estimated that the distance between my device and the ignition components (high voltage) were > 24" with a partial shielding created by the seat of the mower.  About 5 minutes or less into cutting the lawn, I felt a tightness in my chest and a feeling that I was exerting myself.  I moved the seat of the mower to its foremost position to slightly increase the space between the engine and the device.  This, and leaning forward a bit seemed to decrease the discomfort.

I completed the lawn and considered that there was some/enough stray EMF from the ignition that there could be interference to the device.  Checking BP and Pulse rates after stopping and going in the house showed normal BP and Pulse but I still felt like I'd had a serious workout on the treadmill pushing towards maximum HR.

I fabricated a grounded (to the chassis)  metal shield that fit over the engine and tried it again and again I went from feeling normal to having the feeling that I was exhausting myself on the treadmill.

When I spoke to the device nurse at the cardiologist's office she had no explanation and said that the CRT, if interfered with, would stop pacing and MAY provide a conversion shock thinking I was in VTAC, but should not cause the heart to race.  At this time, they'd also had the results of a download from my device and said that my PVC's had increased instead of decreased and I was not pacing properly.  Scheduled in to see Dr. in three days.

More info perhaps that anyone wants, but has anyone else experienced this sort of thing?

P.S. New member to this group and looking to participate and learn from others' experiences.


Lawn Mower

by KonaLawrence - 2018-11-04 17:05:53

If you're only a  week out from surgery your incision site and lead "screw in" incisions inside your heart haven't healed.  To be safe, give them a month before any vigorous action like jumping up & down or riding a riding lawn mower.  I think that's probably what gave you pain and maybe even an odd feeling from your heart.  Hearts don't really like to be told what to do, especially by a pacemaker.  It takes days to weeks for the heart to settle down and accept it's not in charge anymore.  :-)

Good Luck

lawn mowers

by Tracey_E - 2018-11-04 18:28:36

It's easy to tell if there was interference from the lawn mower, it would show up in the interrogation report. Tell them what day/time it happened and ask them to check the report. 

Also ask them if your rate response is turned on. It senses movement/vibration, thinks we are exercising, and raises our rate for us. Super helpful when we are actually working out, kind of annoying if we are not. The vibration of the mower may have confused it. I've had that happen on bumpy amusement park rides. My doc said not to worry about it, it's harmless. 


I'd really like to know what happened.

by Theknotguy - 2018-11-04 19:06:06

I keep hearing about problems with ICD's, pacemakers, and the like with EMF fields but haven't been able to document anything.  Perhaps you're the first?  

I've got a pacemaker and I've written on the forum where I've leaned over a running car engine after jump starting it.  Grabbed a live 110 volt line.  Have leaned on a running DeWalt power drill with my pacemaker on top of the running drill.  All of these without problems to my pacemaker.  So while I don't suggest anyone else does the same, I also don't worry too much about the side effects of EMF fields to the pacemaker.  I myself just haven't seen where the pacemaker is bothered by EMF fields.  

Based upon your description you have an ICD which is different.  So maybe we have documentation of where the ICD is bothered by the EMF field from the engine of the riding lawn mower?  I agree with the previous comment where two weeks out is way early and maybe you're being bothered by pushing too hard and the effects are not the ICD being bothered by the EMF field.  So I'd really like to hear what you find out.  

If ICD's are bothered by such EMF fields and I'm wrong, so be it.  Or, if you've been pushing it too hard and are having problems because of it, I'd like to know that too.  Whatever it is, I'd really like to know what happened.  Please let me know.  

Induction cooktop

by NormaLou - 2018-11-13 14:12:35

I have an induction cooktop. After receiving my Pacer and reading the manual (yes, I read everything) it said to stay 2 ft. away from appliance. Needless to say I was careful to do that. Then I was talking to an older friend who has had a pacer for several years and has an induction cooktop was never told to be careful about the closeness and was unaware that there could be a problem. He says it has never caused a problem.

Since then, I have been standing a "normal" distance from my cooktop and it has not caused me any problems with my pacer. 

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