Are Metal Detectors Safe for Pacemakers?

One of the main issues that create a concern to various pacemakers is the use of metal detectors.

A metal detector works by sending electric impulses to the heart. The purpose of this exercise is to obtain a steady, measured heartbeat.

The question of whether metal detectors are safe for pacemakers is one that has had close attention for years. To answer this, we need to look at the following.

1. The Magnetic Field

The magnetic field that the use of metal detectors exposes the use is slightly weaker than the average magnetic force that surrounds us. In many situations, the field is weaker than the electromagnetic radio waves that radio stations and television channels use.

The magnetic field is also slightly lower than the magnetic field used in the walkthrough security doors commonly used in the courtrooms and airports.

2. Research Results

Owing to the significant number of people that are exposed to the effects of metal detectors, various security institutions have conducted numerous research projects. The purpose of this being to examine the possible interference with the multiple pacemakers.

One of the primary factors that need to be checked is the number of times that these detectors have failed. In such situations, what was the impact?

There have been times that metal detectors failed. In all these circumstances, there was no severe harm reported by the persons being searched.

All in all, there is no concrete guarantee that the interactions will not occur, most security firms often place a note requesting those with metal implants to be hand searched instead of using the standard metal detector walkthroughs.

3. The Product Design

How do manufacturers ensure that the pacemakers are resistant to various electromagnetic fields?
Various pacemakers’ manufacturers are making a new design of pacemakers that will be resistant to any electromagnetic interference.

Another point of concern to various firms that manufacture implantable devices including pacemakers is the resultant fields from the multiple metal detectors.

To ensure the safety of the various persons wearing pacemakers and other medical therapy devices must have an FDA approval. To get this approval, the manufacturer must show that safety conditions and criteria have been met.
However, since there is no control over how pacemakers will be designed and made, an absolute guarantee on their capabilities cannot be made. Only the manufacturing firm can be able to guarantee this.

4. Safety Precautions

As the person wearing a pacemaker, what should you do to ensure that the device works as anticipated?
Most of the metal detectors have their magnetic fields concentrated just a few inches to the search coil. That may be the reason why the various medical devices including the pacemaker will function normally even with the search coil brought closer to them.

If any malfunction were to be noted, it would be unlikely that the breakdown would lead to any damage. Routine operations and results are likely to be achieved immediately after the coil are withdrawn or moved away from the pacemaker.

However, despite all this, common sense dictates that the person wearing any electrical medical device should not bring the coil close to the device.

The Final Thought

According to the American Heart Association, metal detectors are relatively safe. As such, persons using pacemakers or any other wearable medical therapy device should not worry that the interactions will result in any clinical complication.

However, as the person wearing your device, you must remind the security officer that you have a wearable device on you. As such, he or she should not bring the metal detector wand closer to you than it should.

With this revelation, the metal detectors and the pacemakers can co-exist peacefully.

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