Some precautionary measures for those using a pacemaker include avoiding magnetic resonance imaging and therapeutic radiation procedures, turning off large motors during repair work, avoiding high-voltage machinery, and abstaining from diathermy, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. People with pacemakers need to inform airport security personnel, dentist, surgeons and other health care providers about their heart murmur. It is also good to keep cellphones and headphones from resting near the pacemaker site.
In general, those with pacemakers need to avoid magnetic places and devices that could cause interference with the pacemaker device, reports Johns Hopkins. Although standard airport security procedures are safe, it is important that handheld wands do not remain close to the pacemaker for longer than a couple of seconds and that the patient does not lean into the security equipment or remain in it longer than necessary.
Any large magnetic field has the potential to disrupt the device, maintains Johns Hopkins. If an MRI scan is absolutely necessary, a cardiologist needs to be available to monitor the device and reprogram it if necessary. Diathermy uses an electrical current to produce heat in muscles, and the current has the potential to disrupt the normal function of a pacemaker.
Although modern cellphones are safe to use, they should not be stored in the breast pocket, states Johns Hopkins. Likewise, patients need to avoid storing headphones around the neck when not in use.