Answers to Questions about Implantable Cardiac Devices and Electromagnetic Compatibility

Patient Services Electromagnetic Compatibility Guide

For Implantation Cardiac Devices

Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC)

Medtronic heart devices are built with protective shields, so the majority of items that you use or come into contact with will not affect the normal operation of your implanted heart device. However, items that generate or use electricity, or transmit wireless signals – such as a portable generator, power drill, or cell phone – have electromagnetic fields around them. Some of these fields may affect the normal operation of your heart device. Electromagnetic compatibility is the relationship between these electromagnetic fields and your heart device.

How items may affect your heart device

If the electromagnetic fields surrounding an item are too close to your implanted heart device – and your heart device happens to detect these fields – this may temporarily affect the normal function of your heart device. This same effect may also occur if the item being touched is not in good working order or properly wired, causing electrical current to flow into your body.

In either situation, this may temporarily cause your heart device to deliver a therapy that is not needed or withhold a therapy that is needed. For this reason, we recommend you only use items that are in good working condition. In addition, we recommend you maintain a minimum distance between certain items and your implanted heart device. This will help to avoid any temporary effect on your heart device.

What to do if you think an item is affecting your heart device

If you feel dizzy, lightheaded, a change in heart rate, or receive a shock while using an item, simply release whatever you’re touching or move away from it. Any temporary effect is unlikely to cause reprogramming or damage to your heart device. Your heart device is designed to return to normal operation. Of course, if your symptoms continue or do not improve, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

About this guide

We’ve organized this guide to make it helpful and convenient for you to find the answers you’re looking for. It’s divided into main categories:

Each category is broken into sections, ranging from no known risk to special considerations, which provides you with the recommended minimum distance for the items or products listed.