I recently had an Edora 8 DR-T pacemaker installed.  I do small welding jobs and wondering if anyone has had any experience using a welder and if so what precautions should I take and what to expect.



by Buzbuz9 - 2019-02-28 00:41:55

I only had a brief experience welding, during high School I took a auto shop, wood shop, and welding class all in one. During the welding portion of this class I realized how unsafe it was for me to be operating an arc welder. It directly interferes with your pacemaker programming and can cause major issues with your device. Do not use an arc welder under any circumstance! I only figured out that I shouldn't be doing it when I felt my heart not work anymore. Another big worry when being around welding equipment is any large magnets can also interfere with your device and drain your device's battery so be extra cautious. 

That's a little over the top.

by AgentX86 - 2019-02-28 12:54:39

Newer pacemakers are shielded pretty well from EMI, so that's not a huge problem. The issue is large magnetic fields which, for all practical purposes, can't be shielded. To get a large magnetic field, a large current is needed. Arc welders have this, in spades. Medtronic recommends that pacemaker recipients not use welders with a current higher than 160A. They also note that depending on your situation, perhaps it's best to avoid them altogether. If you're pacemaker dependent, I'd not get near one (and I don't).

Note that this has nothing to do with the magnet used to put the pacemaker into default mode. It's about screwing up the pacemaker"s sensing capabilities. You don't want and large DC magnets, like expensive headsets, directly on your pacemaker but again, this is a completely different issue.

No, a welder isn't going to run down the battery and reprogramming it isn't the risk, either. The problem is mostly giving the pacemaker false information about the state of your heart. Of you aren't dependent, you'll probably notice the problem and have time to get away. If you're dependent, there might not be time to notice.

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