Inform anyone treating you that you CANNOT have any shortwave diathermy, microwave diathermy or therapeutic ultrasound diathermy (all now referred to as diathermy) anywhere on your body because you have an implanted neurostimulation system. Energy from diathermy can be transferred through your implanted system, can cause tissue damage and can result in severe injury or death.
Diathermy can also damage parts of your neurostimulation system. This can result in loss of therapy from your neurostimulation system, and may require additional surgery to remove or replace parts of your implanted device. Injury or damage can occur during diathermy treatment whether your neurostimulation system is turned “on” or “off.”
Patient Letter, dated May 18, 2001
The purpose of this letter is to inform you that you should not have shortwave diathermy, microwave diathermy or therapeutic ultrasound diathermy (all now referred to as diathermy) if you have an implanted neurostimulation device. Diathermy provides optional treatments for the following purposes:
When the energy from diathermy therapy interacts with neurostimulation devices, it can cause permanent nerve or tissue damage and result in severe injury or death. Therefore, DO NOT RECEIVE ANY DIATHERMY.
Please note that the permanent nerve or tissue injury is not caused by a device malfunction. Rather, it is caused by the interaction of two devices (neurostimulation system and diathermy machine) when they are working properly.
There have been two known cases where patients with implanted deep brain stimulation systems received shortwave therapy (diathermy). In both cases, the therapy interacted with the implanted neurostimulation system and caused severe and permanent brain damage. Both patients are still in comas.
What are shortwave diathermy, microwave diathermy and therapeutic ultrasound diathermy treatments?
Diathermy, pronounced (di´-a-thur-me) are treatments that deliver energy to treat specific areas of the body. These treatments are typically used for the following purposes:
Your doctor can answer any questions you may have about diathermy therapy or alternative treatments.
Diathermy is used by a variety of health care professionals, including physical therapists, nurses, chiropractors, dentists, sports therapists, ophthalmologists, and others. Health care professionals may refer to diathermy using the term “deep heat” or similar terms. Diathermy means deep heat, but these devices may also be used in a way that causes little or no heating.
What Should You Do?
First and foremost, do not receive any shortwave diathermy, microwave diathermy or therapeutic ultrasound diathermy, just as you would avoid a medicine to which you are seriously allergic. Before receiving any treatment, you should inform every health care professional (such as doctors, dentists, chiropractors, sports therapists, or physical therapists) that you have an implanted neurostimulation device. Follow these steps whenever you see any health care professional:
If you have any questions about this communication or your therapy, please contact the doctor who manages your neurostimulation treatment or contact Medtronic directly at 1-800-328-0810.
If you have an implanted neurostimulation device, please ensure that you continue to receive important information from Medtronic regarding your device.
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