Life with a pacemaker

Chat and items of interest about Crete and Greece.
johnincrete
Posts: 821
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:04 pm
Location: Chania

Life with a pacemaker

Postby johnincrete » Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:07 pm

Does anyone have a pacemaker and can advise me what I can do and what I can't do?

The only restrictions I got from the junior doctor at Irakleo hospital was not to use a microwave and not to keep my mobile phone in my shirt pocket. Are there any more restrictions I should know about?

Most useful web sites are American and they use different pacemakers to those use by the Greek system. For example, one site says batteries last for 15 years but I was told about 5 years.

Incidentally, if you have irregular or too slow heart beat then talk to your doctor. My heart beat fell from 70 to 30 between annual visits to my cardiologist. It caused extreme shortness of breath such that I could only just cross my living room. It also caused fluid retention - they took some 8 litres from me in hospital and my waist measurement fell by about 6 cm and my swollen legs are normal now. I have so much drive after being totally exhausted all the time. I would say that I have my mo-jo back if I knew what a mo-jo was!!!!

From a well-paced John

Kilkis
Posts: 9578
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:58 pm
Location: Near Chania

Re: Life with a pacemaker

Postby Kilkis » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:16 pm

Avoid induction hobs. They use high power RF to induce current, and hence heat, directly in the pan. They aren't very common but you never know what someone might have in their kitchen. Basically any high power source of RF or low power at very close range. RF welders, RF gluers, emergency service radios, broadcast transmitters, radio amateur transmitters etc etc.

Warwick

louisejersey
Posts: 151
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:41 pm
Location: Jersey/ Neapoli Crete

Re: Life with a pacemaker

Postby louisejersey » Wed Aug 01, 2018 3:18 pm

It's 3 years since I left my job in the X Ray department, but unless things have changed, you won't be able to go into the MRI scanner. x

filippos
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Location: Kalyves
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Re: Life with a pacemaker

Postby filippos » Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:43 pm

I don't think that's changed unless in the last six weeks or so. I had an MRI scan 6-8 weeks ago and was specifically asked about having a pacemaker or any metal in my body.

Kilkis
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Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:58 pm
Location: Near Chania

Re: Life with a pacemaker

Postby Kilkis » Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:59 pm

Given the strength of the magnetic field used in an MRI scanner I would have thought that anything containing ferromagnetic material would literally be ripped out of the body. Think the scene in Alien when the alien erupts from Kane's chest. Sorry John. I hope that image doesn't give you a heart attack.

Even if the pacemaker doesn't contain any ferromagnetic material I would have thought the chances of the electronics surviving such an intense oscillating magnetic field would be pretty low. I spent 20 years testing electronic equipment for susceptibility to varying electromagnetic fields and I don't think I have ever tried to expose anything to the sort of field strength that occurs in an MRI scanner.

Warwick

Jeffstclair
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Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 10:00 pm
Location: The centre of the universe

Re: Life with a pacemaker

Postby Jeffstclair » Thu Aug 02, 2018 9:28 am

I don't you would even be in the same room when a MRI scanner is switched on if you have a pacemaker ...

louisejersey
Posts: 151
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:41 pm
Location: Jersey/ Neapoli Crete

Re: Life with a pacemaker

Postby louisejersey » Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:40 pm

Someone with a pacemaker shouldn't even be in the outer room next to where the scanner is (it is always producing the Magnetic field, even when not "Working" ). However we did have an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair brought down from a ward, who suddenly "Remembered" That he had one, just as we were approaching the scanning room door. Very nonchalantly we slowly reversed his chair backwards to safety, and explained that the Doctor had decided to perform a different investigation. :D

Kilkis
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Location: Near Chania

Re: Life with a pacemaker

Postby Kilkis » Thu Aug 02, 2018 5:47 pm

I'm no expert on MRI health threats but I think it is the electromagnetic pulses used while scanning that would do the damage to the electronics. I doubt if the static magnetic field would affect the electronics even thought it is strong. Also it is only really strong between the poles so I doubt if it would be any threat at all in an adjacent room while the pulses will radiate.

Is the magnetic field there all the time for all models, Louise? Obviously it is for permanent magnet models but I think most of them today are helium cooled superconducting magnets. I would have thought that they would only have the current switched on when it was operational?

Warwick

louisejersey
Posts: 151
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:41 pm
Location: Jersey/ Neapoli Crete

Re: Life with a pacemaker

Postby louisejersey » Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:10 pm

Yes Warwick, the magnetic field is on at all times. When the magnet is "working," gradients switch on and off to capture the images (as I'm sure you know). The only way to get rid of the field is to quench the magnet (Happened to us by accident) ,which releases the Helium this is a dangerous and very costly operation the Helium is supposed to escape through a ceiling vent which in our case was badly positioned so the Helium stayed in the room .You are quite right to say the most dangerous bit is between the poles, but actually just inside the door, (where our poor Pacemaker patient was) is still a small risk.
Re pacemakers, the risk is that they can switch off. I believe that an MRI scanner in a Hospital with a dedicated Cardio unit (Which is ready to intervene )will scan a pacemaker patient if absolutely necessary .

Kilkis
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Location: Near Chania

Re: Life with a pacemaker

Postby Kilkis » Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:36 pm

Ah. Not thinking clearly. Of course if it is super conducting it will be self sustaining and the only way to stop it would be to raise the temperature above the superconducting temperature. I think there are some pacemakers that are certified for exposure to MRI scanners but I don't know the details. I suspect that ones used in Greece will probably not be the most modern.

Warwick

bobscott
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Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 5:36 pm
Location: Kokkino Horio

Re: Life with a pacemaker

Postby bobscott » Mon Aug 06, 2018 5:34 pm

Kilkis wrote:Ah. Not thinking clearly. Of course if it is super conducting it will be self sustaining and the only way to stop it would be to raise the temperature above the superconducting temperature. I think there are some pacemakers that are certified for exposure to MRI scanners but I don't know the details. I suspect that ones used in Greece will probably not be the most modern.

Warwick


So, with two metal knees and a metal hip I should eschew the opportunity to have an MRI scan? Mind you, ripping it all out of the body would save some palaver at airports!!!! Bob.
Yesterday today was tomorrow. Don't dilly dally!

Kilkis
Posts: 9578
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:58 pm
Location: Near Chania

Re: Life with a pacemaker

Postby Kilkis » Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:04 pm

Probably not a good idea but you need to check for the particular kind of joint.

Warwick

louisejersey
Posts: 151
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:41 pm
Location: Jersey/ Neapoli Crete

Re: Life with a pacemaker

Postby louisejersey » Tue Aug 07, 2018 2:30 pm

You would be fine bobscott. :) . Most replacement joints are fine in the scanner after they have been in place for about 6 weeks. After this time, they are pretty firmly embedded. More problematic is metal which has entered the body by accident, for example a splinter of metal in the eye from welding/grinding etc. Because the eyeball is a jelly like substance there is nothing to anchor the splinter. I will leave the rest to your imagination. I have seen a photograph of the result. Not pretty. :( .

john4d
Posts: 475
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2007 5:13 pm
Location: Near Vamos

Re: Life with a pacemaker

Postby john4d » Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:40 pm

Yes, I've recently had two MRI scans and I have steel plates and pins in both of my legs, no problem having the scans,
There's no such thing as a bad taste joke

johnincrete
Posts: 821
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:04 pm
Location: Chania

Re: Life with a pacemaker

Postby johnincrete » Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:04 am

Just had my 3-month check. In with surgeon only a few minutes while a very impressive machine did its thing. Result was a booklet of a vast range of measurements of which only one was intelligible to me - current estimate battery life 11.5 years! Was told that it takes 6 months for the bruising to clear up completely. Also told that it was OK to have a MRI scan but the pacemaker would need regulation both before and after the scan and that it would need to be done in Irakleo - so, effectively, don't have a MRI scan! And next check is a year away.

The effect of the pacemaker is dramatic. Before, I could not even walk across a room without becoming breathless and exhausted. When I needed to shop, I parked immediately outside the shop - which meant many shops were off-limits. Legs and feet swollen with fluid. Abdomen hard with accumulated fluid. Now I can walk freely - only problem are muscles aching with the new exercise! All accumulated fluid gone and energy levels rising. Sleeping 7 hours instead of 3 or 4. I've taken in my belt by two notches. It is entirely possible that I will be able to wear my one-and-only suit for my granddaughter's graduation next July in Leeds. (she will be playing for Sheffield next season and Man U is looking at her)

All brilliant.

I am so impressed by the medical staff at the hospitals - the whole range from nurses to consultants - so hard-working and so able.

PS Got another all-clear from the oncology dept. God is good - all the time


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