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welding with a pacemaker

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by dragster, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. 57 3100
    Joined: Apr 9, 2010
    Posts: 344

    57 3100

    my father has the combo pacemaker / defibrillator, which was installed 14 months ago.
    i took him to his cardiologist 2 weeks ago, since my father now has a broken leg and cant drive.
    the doctor was using his computer to check the operation of my fathers pace / defib, and me, being a welder by trade, asked the doctor if i had one, if i could still weld. he said yes, no problem, and before i could ask, the doctor said all types of welding, including TIG. he then went on to tell me he has a few patients that are welders and have no problems.
    but obviously, you should check with your doctor and see what he says.... maybe the older units you could not.

  2. threeston
    Joined: Sep 26, 2010
    Posts: 74


    Instead of twisting the lines together (which only reduces noise absorption for computer, or analog signal lines). Instead get some of that aluminum tape and wrap that around the cables as a shield which becomes grounded. of course that should also be covered with a suitable rubber or plastic insulation for conductive reasons. but this will create a very effective shield for the cables themselves. of course the spark gap is the really dirty signal. (try playing with a car battery near a radio, by shorting or closing a circuit so that sparks occur it hams all frequencies).

    Then if you are really worried there are faraday cage like clothing garments that the "paranoia industry" has developed which would actually work really quite well I imagine.
    these would need to be grounded and also protected from being shorted on anything. (worn under a garment, over another garment so not to touch skin).

    if anything, this might also make the pace maker's brain a little confused as it normally has to filter out all that crap (random EM fields we are all bathed in constantly and perpetually) and suddenly it's room will "be quiet". like a poster said pacemakers now are really quite intuitive machines and can record all sorts of interesting phenomenon, such as vigorous activity, etc.

    take it or leave it, I claim no responsibility for your old ticker's safety. this is simply advice for the greatest amount of safety coming from an electrical engineering student.

    also one more thing. the field strength is a 1/ (radius squared) thing so if you can weld two feet away instead of one. the radiation intensity will be 4 times as small, as an example. this applies to anything, stand 2 feet away from your microwave instead of face pressed up against the door watching your frozen burrito cook.
  3. dgc15
    Joined: Aug 23, 2007
    Posts: 140


    I have had a Medtronics and now have a St Jude pacemaker-defib. I mig weld with it and have no problem. The other day I welded quite a bit and the next day I went in for my 3 month check. I asked them if they noticed anything abnormal in the information they got out of it. They said everything was normal. I told them about welding the day before and they said it should not be a problem I didn't try and weld real close to my chest. They also said do not use a electric drill or grinder real close to the pacemaker.
  4. KK500
    Joined: Dec 29, 2006
    Posts: 354


    Chuckles0........"they can tell when I get lucky also :)"

    Does this include driving ur hotrod around the block....should do;)

    Not too many replies from those who have tried it!!!!
    Gotcha wondering why?????????:confused:
  5. Clik
    Joined: Jul 1, 2009
    Posts: 1,895


    Watch the professor demonstrate how regular radio waves don't penetrate the Farady cage (I was wrong about that) and then he demonstrates how High Frequency Radio Waves do (I was right in that regard). Watch particularly from about the 5:00 mark.
  6. Clik
    Joined: Jul 1, 2009
    Posts: 1,895


  7. What do you mean by High freguency? HF or Microwave or Vhf Above 1.8 MegaHerz of above 30 MegaHrz or above 150 MegaHerz?
    I know if the cage cant seal out RF then tests at that frequecy are meaningless or probably invalid.
    He said VERY HIGH FREQUENCY that is VHF not HF (high frequency which is a very different animal.( VHF will got to space and beyond HF will not. )and that cage is not designed to shieled Rf but electrostic. Ours were a lot denser than that one and bigger too.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2011
  8. Clik
    Joined: Jul 1, 2009
    Posts: 1,895


    If I am not mistaken the distance between the bars or holes in the faraday cage would be a big factor in what is screened out as different radio waves have different lengths and shapes. I would also assume that a welding machines frequency would not only change with settings but with different metals, different distances between the positive and negative and various other factors.
    • AM radio: 535 kHz to 1.7 MHz
    • Short wave radio: 5.9 MHz to 26.1 MHz
    • Citizens band radio:26.96 MHz to 27.41 MHz
    • TV stations (channels 2 through 6): 54 to 88 MHz
    • TV stations (channels 7 through 14): 174 to 220 MHz
    • FM radio: 88 MHz to 108 MHz
    Cordless phones: 40 MHz to 50 MHz (Some newer versions are 900 MHz.)
    • Baby monitors: 49 MHz
    • Radio-controlled airplanes: 72 MHz
    • Radio-controlled cars: 75 MHz
    • Wildlife tracking collars: 215 MHz to 220 MHz
    • MIR Space Station: 145 MHz to 437 MHz
    • Cell phones: 824 MHz to 849 MHz
    • Air traffic control radar: 960 MHz to 1,215 MHz
    • Global Positioning System: 1,227 MHZ to 1,575 MHz
    • Deep space radio communication: 2,290 MHz to 2300 MHz
    I have a strong heart, no blockage, but I do have atrial fibrilations that may one day require a defibrilator/pacemaker. I often wonder if the condition was due to getting shocked badly some years back.

    As to the frequency emitted by the microphone transmitter that was escaping the video professors faraday cage so easily, I could only guess that it was in the 40-50 MHZ range as that seems common for those types of communication devices.
  9. CutawayAl
    Joined: Aug 3, 2009
    Posts: 2,144

    from MI

    They had a cage installed where my father worked. My understanding was that you specify the frequency range to be blocked/filterded when the cage is ordered.
  10. joe_padavano
    Joined: Jan 18, 2010
    Posts: 263


    You are exactly correct.
  11. darkk
    Joined: Sep 2, 2010
    Posts: 456


    wrap a half a roll of tin foil around your middle and go for it.....:D
  12. CutawayAl
    Joined: Aug 3, 2009
    Posts: 2,144

    from MI

    Can that use the same ground strap as my tin foil hat, or do I need a separate cable? ....... can't be too careful with the orbiting mind control laser robot satellites overhead.
  13. 58fed
    Joined: Jul 11, 2008
    Posts: 262


    I have had a pacemaker since I was 13 years old(1989), I'm 34 years old now and I have been an iron workerfor 15 years, and own my own Hot Rod shop, I've been welding since about 1 year after the surgery. My doctor for the pacemaker was Dr. Gamble, you know, of Proctor and Gamble. The Doctors have to tell you not to do things because if they don't and something happens, they are liable. That being said, they love to hear and see everything that I have been able to do, if you knew me, you would know that it hasn't stopped me from doing anything in my life, I also had an aordic valve replacement at the same time as the pacemaker. I have talked with families and kids who are going through similar things for a long time and you can see that it gives them hope of a "normal" life. The only limitations are the ones you set, and for laughs, I was doing a beam job about 5 stories up and it was wet and snowing, I was holding an I-beam in place and when my buddy struck the arc, it juiced me right across my chest because I was leaning over a safety cable, nothing happened at all.
  14. chaos10meter
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 2,191

    from PA.

    I have one for three years. I weld all the time.
    They told me it's O.K. to weld, just do it in moderation.
    They did tell me not to lean over a running engine for too long ?
    Why I don't know.
    Just to be safe I did make up alligator clips that I clamp to my nuts and then to the car frame.
    Keeps me from welding too long.
    Joined: Mar 30, 2010
    Posts: 3,253


    I Worked with a guy that had one & welded. have'nt seen him in along time. ??????
  16. joe_padavano
    Joined: Jan 18, 2010
    Posts: 263


    Same thing my cardiologist said - avoid the high voltage distributor wiring.
  17. threeston
    Joined: Sep 26, 2010
    Posts: 74


    if your welder is putting out VHF waves. as in IONIZING radiation such as x-ray and above, you got a whole different problem than just your pacemaker to worry about.
  18. lostforawhile
    Joined: Mar 23, 2008
    Posts: 4,160


    be especially careful if you have a pacemaker and an msd ignition, fine for driving, but they give off a lot of RF energy, so be careful working around it with the engine running, much worse for your pacemaker then a standard ignition
  19. I know most of the answers are in but I got a reply from my Cousin who worked for the pacemaker maker. He said he was in charge of the testing done for welders. The testing was carried out at the Ford Plant in Oakville.
    He said one should go to their pacemaker clinic and get the followoing info.
    Would need to know ;
    Pacemaker model, Manufacturer and implant date
    Type of Welding
    Assuming the pacemaker is for bradycardia, it is also important to know if the patient has an underlying rate and if it is sinus oriented or ventricular based.
    What are the parameters of the pacemaker.
    Minimum Rate
    Single or Dual Chamber
    Hysteresis Rate if applicable
    Sensor type for rate modulation

    From that if you can or cant can be figured out. HE most definately did not say no. Some units even have filters for Welder Rf already he said but you need to ask the manufacturer and a make sure they understand you want to weld. The Answer was quite detailed.
  20. ron1970nova
    Joined: Oct 13, 2009
    Posts: 12


  21. CutawayAl
    Joined: Aug 3, 2009
    Posts: 2,144

    from MI

    So the essence of what you are sayiong is that, depending on a variety of factors, it may or may not be a problem? That would explain the disparity in the responses from those with first-hand experience.
  22. Yes from what Drew told me the placement of the ground cable, the type of device it is or for what problem it is for and the blessing of the manfacturer makes it all possible. He did the tests at the Ford plant in Ontario for the pacemaker manifacturers. He is retired now. It was just a lucky shot to ask him. I had no idea he had been so involved in this exact subject.
  23. I just received a pace maker and I am looking into this
    thank you
  24. 1959apache
    Joined: Nov 22, 2009
    Posts: 2,627


    I just had my neighbor, an old car guy, get a pacemaker... he is not allowed, what-so-ever to use a welder, electric drill or sanders due to their magnetic field as it messes with the pacemaker itself. I would ask your doctor, if he doesn't know, make him find out from the manufacturer.
  25. perrysmith
    Joined: Jul 6, 2008
    Posts: 257

    from Idaho, USA

    So it is very difficult to put your heart into a welding project? Maybe a shrink is in order?
  26. nevrdun
    Joined: Jul 8, 2007
    Posts: 22

    from lombard,il

    Two years ago I had to have a pacemaker installed. BEFORE the operation I talked to the cardioligist and said I had to weld because of my Hobby. He said whats the big deal, its only welding. I explained that building and creating stuff in the hot rod hobby is a major part of my life and that we need to figure out something else. He finally said ok and called the manufactuer St. Jude to see what we can do.. They said NO PROBLEM we will put in modelXXXXXX. Now no problem up to 400 amps. Arc, mig ,tig all ok. A few minor rules to follow but no different than good safety stuff to follow when welding.
    Talk to the doctor BEFORE the operation. Tell them your concerns. I know they can help you. They helped me.
  27. I was on the phone with Boston Scientific about welding
    they have in the owners manual 24"
    after the phone tech he red that 24" from machine and if possible the arc
    he gave me the symptoms that may happen so I would know
    as the pace maker is set up the welding interference WILL NOT reset its self
    I did tell my doc about my hot rod fab work
    I just fired up the Plasma I cut about 5 min feel good and a little Mig welding
  28. canadianal
    Joined: May 15, 2012
    Posts: 164

    from canada

    My dad has had a pacemaker since the 60's not a fancy one just a regular pacemaker, recently the newer styles have a sensor to speed his heart up when working harder.
    Farmed and welded all his life ac and dc stick never did have a problem. But that was just him, too stubborn to quit still ticking along
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2013
  29. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,999


    Those things must be more powerful than I thought, if you can weld with one. How long can you maintain an arc before you have to recharge?
  30. Dane
    Joined: May 6, 2010
    Posts: 1,351

    from Soquel, CA

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