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MIG welding with Pacemaker?

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  • MIG welding with Pacemaker?

    I might have to get a pacemaker implant for my slow ticker. They say keep 2 feet from all sources of magnetism, like welders and motors. I am wondering if this also means the hand torch and ground cable, or will I just have to keep from hugging the transformer? The doctors don't know welding, the welders don't know doctoring. Does anybody out there have experience or knowledge about this? I am not sure I can survive if I can't make things.

  • #2
    Pacemaker caution

    Hi DT.

    A very topical question for older members and/or those with or about or considering insertion of a "Pacemaker".

    This "Google" link may assist.

    A friend of mine who was a keen welder was told to stay right away from using (and I think, the immediate vicinity of) electric welders. He was OK for any gas cutting or welding.

    I would think that MIG, TIG, plasma, laser etc. would all be suspect.

    I'd stay away until I have competent professional medical advice on the subject.

    There may well be other HF-emitters that are on the "no-no" or "be wary" lists as well.

    MIR scans certainly are - and this applies to any metal insert - including metal plates and screws, metal artificial joints and metal particles that are in the eyes.


    • #3
      My dad had several pacemakers over the years. The first ones the Drs said to stay away from welders as well as ham radios. The last one or two they said it didnt matter. Bottom line, Ask the Dr before insertion. There are alot of differant pacemakers available.


      • #4
        I have always wondered if you get an AC/DC pacemaker do you have to start cross dressing ?


        Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.


        • #5
          I didnt look at the who started this thread, My mind was racing, I thought Fasttrack had Isolated his crosslide somehow and put the migs wirefeed end in it - threw the ground clamp on a clean spot on the pacemaker (good luck finding one ), then had some kind of round steel object chucked up and was somehow using his lathe to weld with... Strong coffee this morning.


          • #6
            Irish coffee

            Hi AK.

            I suspect that was "Irish" coffee you had - sure sounds like it.

            Seems to remind of some people who like their coffee like they like their women - hot, ***** and strong- and keep it coming!!

            And where does the "pace-maker" fit in?

            Half ya luck!!!


            • #7
              I suggest you read my disclaimer linked below. I am not a doctor. But then neither are many doctors. Insurance liability concerns are in cases like this far more important than scientific truth.

              OBJECTIVES: The study was done to determine whether patients with pacemakers could safely undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 1.5-Tesla (T).

              BACKGROUND: Because of theoretical risks, it is an absolute contraindication for a patient with a pacemaker to undergo MRI. However, there are times when an MRI is needed to provide valuable clinical information.

              METHODS: Fifty-four patients underwent a total of 62 MRI examinations at 1.5-T. The type of MRI examination was not limited and included cardiac, vascular, and general MRI studies using various whole-body averaged specific absorption rate (SAR) of radiofrequency power. Restrictions were not placed on the type of pacemaker present in the patient. All pacemakers were interrogated immediately before and after MRI scanning, and patients were continuously monitored. Before and after MRI, interrogation was done, and pacing and sensing thresholds, as well as lead impedances, were all measured.

              RESULTS: A total of 107 leads and 61 pulse generators were evaluated. No adverse events occurred. Forty (37%) of the leads underwent changes, whereas 10 (9.4%) leads underwent a significant change. Only 2 of the 107 (1.9%) leads required a change in programmed output. Threshold changes were unrelated to cardiac chamber, anatomical location, peak SAR, and time from lead implant to the MRI examination. Electrocardiographic changes and patient symptoms were minor and did not require cessation of MRI.

              CONCLUSIONS: Safety was demonstrated in this series of patients with pacemakers at 1.5-T.

              In this series of 62 non–pacemaker-dependent patient examinations, performance of unrestricted MRI procedures using a 1.5-T MR system was found to have an acceptable safety profile. Patient symptoms were mild and transient and did not lead to discontinuation of the examinations. Significant alteration of the pacing threshold was found in a small number of leads tested. These threshold changes required a programmed output change in only two leads and were of no clinical consequence. The threshold changes were unrelated to cardiac chamber, anatomical location, and time from lead implant to MRI examination and highest whole body SAR. Therefore, the belief in the presence of a pacemaker as an absolute contraindication to MRI should be re-evaluated.

              1.5 Tesla is a magnetic field strong enough to pick up a steel tig bottle from across the room and suck it into the core of the machine. An MRI field is varying, pulsing and incredibly strong. It makes any fields produced by welding look like a candle beside an arc light.

              You may wish to print out this particular study and take it to your "doctor" to find out what he/she has to say.
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              • #8

                I am merely relaying the advice I was given which the medical practitioner (Radiologist) advised was in accordance with international protocols that they were obliged to follow. It seems that I got all the "Yes/No" questions on the questionnaire correct as there were no concerns about me having an MRI scan.

                I do not have a Pacemaker so it was not an issue for me.

                I daresay that there are protocols that may allow of MRI scanning with a Pacemaker or magnetic metal prosthesis fitted, but as it was not an issue and I did not ask nor was I told, I let the matter rest.


                • #9
                  AK - I thought we were talking about a different type of pacemaker too...

                  Duct Taper - good luck! I hope you have a succesfull surgery, a quick recovery, and a long happy life filled with many miles of weld bead

                  I wish I could offer some insight, but I've got nothing. Let us know what you find out.


                  • #10
                    Thanks for all the info. Evan's MRI info was very interesting. I also did the Google search recommended and found the Medtronic site. I think they would have the right info and this is what they recommended in their Q & A section. It sounds like I can continue on with life as I know it! Thanks again!


                    1. Limit welding current to a 60 to 130 ampere range.
                    2. Work in a dry area with dry gloves and shoes.
                    3. Keep the welding cables close together and as far away as possible from your pacemaker or ICD. Place the welding unit away from the work area.
                    4. Connect the ground clamp to the metal as close to the point of welding as possible. Arrange the work so the handle and rod will not contact the metal being welded if they are accidentally dropped.
                    5. Wait several seconds between attempts when having difficulty starting a weld.
                    6. Work in an area that offers firm footing and plenty of room for movement.
                    7. Work with an informed person who understands these suggestions.
                    8. Immediately stop welding and step away from the area if you start feeling light-headed, dizzy, or you believe your ICD has delivered a shock.


                    • #11
                      Pace Maker

                      Duct Taper
                      I have the Medtronic Defibrillator unit and a small magnet placed over the unit will TURN OFF the unit. I have done light TIG welding and take care as noted with the ground connection and keeping the power cables away from the unit. Nothing has shown up on the quarterly data checks.


                      • #12
                        The problem with this sort of thing is this:

                        They design the unit to be resistant to any common source of magnetic fields including metal detectors, xray machines, powerful loudspeakers, toys etc. Then somebody from the legal department asks the lead engineer on the project "Is there any possibility that the unit could be affected by a magnetic field in an adverse manner?"

                        The engineer thinks to himself "...hmm... it would probably fail from the EMP caused by a nearby nuclear explosion. It might have trouble if the sun went nova and compressed the magnetosphere to ground level...."

                        SO he says to the legal dept guy "Why yes, I can think of several scenarios but they are.."

                        "Never mind the technical details, that all we need to know" says legal.
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                        • #13
                          I have a good friend with a Pacemaker and his doctor told him to avoid TIG welding with an HF unit operating. Apparently felt that MIG was OK, Does MIG have an HF component? Does TIG that does not utilize HF? "Scratch start TIG and that "Lift start" system may not have any HF.


                          • #14
                            Re-used pace-makers etc.

                            And what about laser or plasma cutters etc.?

                            Another friend of mine had a pace-maker implanted and had to stay right away from strong fields. This may have been 15 - 20 years ago.

                            Interestingly, the PM was a "re-cycle" job as it had been removed from the body of the previous user after death. His too (the same PM) was removed for re-use as soon as he died.

                            I have no idea how many previous times it had been implanted. So it was possibly "quite old" technology as my friend died about 8 years ago.

                            I would expect that technology and the options available would have advanced considerably in the mean-time.

                            The best option, if it were me, would be to ask my medial specialists for the options and costs available so that I could make an informed judgment based on my own requirements and resources.

                            On a similar note, the MRI specialist/Radiologist was concerned about hearing implants as well and it too was on the questionnaire that I had to complete.


                            • #15
                              Evan, you raise a good point about the legal advice from fetal position attorneys. I think am going to have an attorney right there for input while I am welding. "Never mind the technical details, all you need to know is to hold these two wires to provide legal input......

                              And I don't think I will settle for a used pacemaker. Everything else I buy is used and "needs a little work" but dang it, I deserve something new once in a while!

                              My wife is getting almost as old as I am so I told her I wanted to trade for a couple of young blonds. She said I couldn't handle one young blond much less two of them. I said I just wanted them to be able to work well together. About all I can do now is watch anyway!

                              This whole pacemaker deal was a shock but I am getting used to it now. Still don't like the idea and I don't need to try anything new anymore, but I still do like to see the sunrise. Thanks everybody for your input.