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Author Topic: Chainsaws and heart pacemakers, do they get along?  (Read 5575 times)

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Offline Howdy

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Chainsaws and heart pacemakers, do they get along?
« on: January 26, 2011, 01:54:59 pm »
With my new pacemaker for my heart came a list of instructions advising me not to use a chainsaw.  Is this really a concern or is the manufacture just being overly cautious? My doctor didnít have an opinion about this when asked but advised me to follow the recommendation to cover his liability.

Does anyone else having a pacemaker still use a chainsaw, and what has your doctor advised?  Thanks.

Offline QuintonAlame

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Re: Chainsaws and heart pacemakers, do they get along?
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2011, 02:14:52 pm »
I ain't quiet shire I thing first of all I you have heart problems you should avoid that kind of hard work ...... it it's in that paper its there for a reason just my 2 cents

Offline Jeff

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Re: Chainsaws and heart pacemakers, do they get along?
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2011, 02:32:46 pm »
I know a fella that lives down the road from the cabin with a pace maker that told me that he can't run the chainsaw any longer because of that reason. Its got something to do with the leakage of current from the spark plug discharging on fire into your body.

I wouldn't do it.

He also told me the story of looking for the machine that was working down the road that kept going beep beep. Nobody but him after heard it. It aggravated him for a couple weeks trying to find where and what was making the noise. One night he went to the races with a couple friends and while riding home in the car, he heard the backup alarm type beeping again. This time his friends heard it too. Turns out it was his pacemakers low battery alarm. :)
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Offline beenthere

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Re: Chainsaws and heart pacemakers, do they get along?
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2011, 02:35:35 pm »
That is an interesting dilema.

A google search turned up

http://www.medtronic.com/rhythms/downloads/3071ENp6_Saws_online.pdf

Hinted about an electromagnetic field from the spark plug. Paralleled the chainsaw with an electric welder.

No answers, but wouldn't suggest that I'd like you to be the guinea pig either. Would take a brave man to test the warning.
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Offline ErikC

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Re: Chainsaws and heart pacemakers, do they get along?
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2011, 06:45:56 pm »
I ain't quiet shire I thing first of all I you have heart problems you should avoid that kind of hard work ...... it it's in that paper its there for a reason just my 2 cents


Electrical impulses aside, this is probably good advice, at least for some time until you fully recover. If you already haven't. :)
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Offline dutchman

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Re: Chainsaws and heart pacemakers, do they get along?
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2011, 07:25:30 pm »
My father-in law had a pacemaker put in about 18 months ago.
He started using his saw about 6 months after.
He no longer cuts alone, wants to be a little on the safe side.
Dr. told him he should not use a saw, because of spark plug.

Offline John Mc

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Re: Chainsaws and heart pacemakers, do they get along?
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2011, 10:34:33 pm »
Pacemakers can be sensitive to Radio Frequency (RF) interference, which is why using a chainsaw can be a problem. One type of early radios was known as "spark gap generators". They jumped a spark across a gap (sound familiar?). This generated RF energy across a huge spectrum of frequencies... no need to tune the receiver, since the transmitter was going on just about every frequency. Some years ago, I stumbled across plan to make a spark gap generator transmitter from a spark plug, ignition coil, relay and a few other parts.

The spark plugs in cars are not generally a problem since they and the car/engine are designed to shield the RF interference. (If you ever pull up next to an antique car at a stoplight, it will probably wreak havoc on your radio.)

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Offline sawguy21

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Re: Chainsaws and heart pacemakers, do they get along?
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2011, 10:40:14 pm »
If and when I get a pacemaker I'll hang up the saw and stick to piling. :D
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Offline mrcaptainbob

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Re: Chainsaws and heart pacemakers, do they get along?
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2011, 12:53:29 am »
My cousin had a pace maker and was told to not jump start a car, and to not stand over a running engine with the hood up. The alternators would put out too much and set of the pace maker....he was VERY cautious about that and kept away from wrenching unless the engine was off.

Offline John Mc

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Re: Chainsaws and heart pacemakers, do they get along?
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2011, 08:17:01 am »
I'm surprised they don't make pacemakers shielded from RF interference (I suppose there must be some resistance to RF, but obviously not enough). There must be a good number of folks who work around equipment that could cause problems.

I hadn't heard of the hood up with the engine running warning, but imagine of you had trained and worked your whole life as an auto mechanic, and then needed a pacemaker...
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Chainsaws and heart pacemakers, do they get along?
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2011, 08:26:59 am »
My guess for not shielding them is that once installed, they can be adjusted and calibrated as needed via either electro magnetic field or radio waves. The same things that admit from the things that they want you to stay away from with the spark type engines. 
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Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Chainsaws and heart pacemakers, do they get along?
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2011, 08:40:09 am »
I have no idea about pacemakers but can relate what I consider to be rather comical about a certain gent .

It seems this guy because of his life style wasn't praticularly condusive to good heart health he had damage in one of the valves .Off to Mayo clinic he goes to see about a fix .His options were either a valve from a pig which he didn't much care for or a mechanical contraption .More or less a high priced check valve .He got the check valve .

So years later while consuming vast quantities of lager he tells my ex wife about a problem this thing caused .At certain rather intiment moments while in the company of a young lady his old ticker clanked like a thrashing machine .Rather distracting he said considering the business at hand .My ex rolled on the floor from laughter . :D

Offline weimedog

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Re: Chainsaws and heart pacemakers, do they get along?
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2011, 10:58:11 am »
I have no idea about pacemakers but can relate what I consider to be rather comical about a certain gent .

It seems this guy because of his life style wasn't praticularly condusive to good heart health he had damage in one of the valves .Off to Mayo clinic he goes to see about a fix .His options were either a valve from a pig which he didn't much care for or a mechanical contraption .More or less a high priced check valve .He got the check valve .

So years later while consuming vast quantities of lager he tells my ex wife about a problem this thing caused .At certain rather intiment moments while in the company of a young lady his old ticker clanked like a thrashing machine .Rather distracting he said considering the business at hand .My ex rolled on the floor from laughter . :D

Now that's a funny story! Wonder if he ever told how it ended! Might be a chick magnet to see who could get the fastest clacks out of the old fart! So does a 11,000 rpm saw want the pacer to run the heart at 11,000 beats per minute? If you can't run chainsaw, what about things like weed whackers, lawn mowers..the riding kind where you are close to ignition parts, and motorcycles..especially the sport bikes where you are draped over the tank a foot from the top of that motor..with sometimes FOUR cylinders running 12K. Wonder if over time they shield those pacemakers.
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Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Chainsaws and heart pacemakers, do they get along?
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2011, 01:10:09 pm »
 :D The guy was young at the time about 25  ..Actually his family owned string of funeral homes ,rich,rich,rich .This guy was rebel at the time working as a brick layer and concrete finisher .The last I saw him he was being a greeter at one of those establishments .When I mentioned the clacking heart he broke out laughing which is something not normally done under the circumstances . I sometimes worry that I bring out the worst in people and dogs . :D

Offline loggit

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Re: Chainsaws and heart pacemakers, do they get along?
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2011, 06:58:21 pm »
My father (when in his 80's) had a defibrillator put in and afterwards was told not to run a chainsaw and even his ham radio. Having run a chainsaw most of his life and being an avid ham radio buff, he told me he wouldn't have had the thing put in if they told him this first.

I believe it was the magnetic field they were concerned with messing up the defibrillator. Anyway he said he was still going to run a saw so he told me to come over while he did just in case he keeled over. Well he ran that saw for two years, played on his ham radio, all with no ill effects. That's our experience, better to not try it solo.

What was I going to tell someone in their 80's .... He was a good man, wish I had just one more day with him. 




Offline JohnG28

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Re: Chainsaws and heart pacemakers, do they get along?
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2011, 07:58:28 pm »
How about looking up one of those diesel chainsaws someone had been talking about here.  Course the fumes might kill ya but no spark plug to worry about.   ;)
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