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Defribrillator and Electromagnetic Energy

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  • Defribrillator and Electromagnetic Energy

    Gentlemen- I have an implanted defibrillator and I want to return to hobby welding. Apparently, an implanted defibrillator can detect the electromagnetic energy from a welder (especially when spot welding or starting bead) as a fast heart rhythm and deliver a shock. Is there any difference between the different machines available as to how much electromagnetic energy emmitted ? I have read in their add that the Miller has "smoother starts"; I don't know if that means less energy emitted or more, or if there is no effect. Any help you guys can provide would be helpful. I've read many articles but none recommend a specific brand of welder.

  • #2

    I'd check with the doctor and the Defib/Pacemaker manufacturer first and then call the welding companies tech lines. I do know several folks who weld regularly with these devices and have expierenced no adverse effects....BUT each case should be considered on it's own.


    • #3
      The trouble is most Doctors won't have a clue.

      I worked on the design of the "third generation" implantable defibrillators
      back in the 80's and 90's and I can say that no one in our so called "clinical engineering" group would've had a clue either. All of them (mfg and Dr) , of course, will err on the side of caution since they haven't an idea and to them if you weld or not is of no consequence so I expect you'll be told "No, don't do it".

      There's only liability and no upside for them to tell you it's OK.
      2 Smith Airline outfits, 2 Harris 50s,2 W200s ,J27, Meco Midget and Dillon
      Thermal Arc 185


      • #4
        Thanks for your response. I have spoken with the Drs. If there is a machine that puts out less, I might want to buy that one. I didn't really think any manufacturer would recommend a competing machine, except maybe Hobart vs Miller, if there is a difference and they know about it. Although I haven't read or heard about any welder with a defribrillator actually having a reaction, I just want to play it as safe as I can. I gave my welder away when they told me I would have to stop welding. Its always great to have a reason to buy a new tool.


        • #5
          Just remember

          It's your heart, and for all intents and purposes, there's one to a customer...

          Think of it as an opportunity to switch to O/A and master some new skills.



          • #6
            All of the bulletins I've read from the manufacturers, and medical papers, say that any reaction won't hurt the defribrillator or me. It will just give me a jolt.

            I forgot to to ask before, do you guys know of any gloves out there that offer more extra insulation?


            • #7
              Read this (chainsaws & welders):

              --- RJL ----------------------------------------------

              Ordinarily I'm insane, but I have lucid moments when I'm merely stupid.


              • #8
                I'd also say to switch to Oxy/Act welding and cutting. you can do just about anything , and its rather elegant, the way you b=get to work the puddle...more it seems than with the electric versions.. Plus, its completely portable, doesn't require rewiring your garage, does not raise the electric bills, doesn't hurt pets eyes that may be watching, etc. Much cheaper to get a nice rig set up, too.
                Very few "grew up on MIG" weldors know squat about gas welding and cutting, so you'll possess mysterious powers.
                "Good Enough Never Is"


                • #9
                  Thanks Hotfoot and USMCPOP, for the responses. I've read all of the Medtronics bulletins and quite a few others. In fact, it was a Medtronics rep who got me on the track to returning to welding....and my garage is already wired. On the other hand I've already got an O/A rig. I just don't know anything about using it to weld. maybe I'll research that a little before I go buy another mig welder.

                  In the meantime, if anybody knows anything about what has the lowest electromagnetic energy that escapes, or any knowledge about the best protection, please let me know.

                  Thanks for your answers, gentlemen.


                  • #10
                    If you want to try arc processes, the general wisdom is to avoid anything that utilizes high frequency. That rules out AC TIG welding, some plasma cutting machines that use hi-freq start, and many DC TIG operations if hi-freq arc starting can't be disabled.

                    The American Welding Society lists precautionary steps to help minimize effect. Granted, they're not doctors... but they know a lot more about welding than doctors do.

                    STEPS TO REDUCE EXPOSURE
                    Pacemaker wearers should observe the following precautions:
                    • Do not use current settings higher than necessary.
                    • Keep the weld cables as close together as possible by twisting or taping them.
                    • Connect work clamp to workpiece as close to the weld as possible.
                    • Arrange cables to one side and away from the operator.
                    • Keep welding power source and cables as far away as practical.
                    • Do not weld with rapidly repeated short spurts—wait about 10 seconds between each
                    • If you feel sick, stop welding immediately and get medical attention.
                    • Do not work alone.
                    Trailblazer 302 * Millermatic 212 * Syncrowave 180SD * X-Treme 12VS Feeder * Spoolmate 3035
                    Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 52 Plasma * Lincoln 175 MIG

                    Victor Superrange II * Victor Journeyman

                    Hobart HH 125EZ


                    • #11
                      I would say avoid overly high current and high frequency, in general, just to err on the side of caution.

                      If you have O/A and can get to know it, it is a valuable skill. Our esteemed colleague here, "George MD", is a master at repairing cast iron with O/A. I've seen some nice beads laid down on steel that look like TIG work, and braze welding (as opposed to brazing) is pretty cool.
                      --- RJL ----------------------------------------------

                      Ordinarily I'm insane, but I have lucid moments when I'm merely stupid.