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What happens when the PAS system users have a pacemaker or defibrillator?

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Our services exist to solve our customers’ problems. This means we need to be in a constant state of evolution and respond to the needs they face.

Claitec manufactures cutting-edge products and we know from experience that new challenges emerge continuously. In order to offer customers a good service, you need to be flexible. This means, for example, to be able to react quickly to the new demands of the professional environment.

In this case, a number of customers have expressed their concern and curiosity about the possible consequences of our Pedestrian Alert System PAS being in close proximity of health electronic devices, such as pacemakers or defibrillators. We knew it was important to inform our customers in relation to this matter, in order to reassure those concerned.

 

Pacemakers and defibrillators

A pacemaker is a mechanical device that generates pulses from the heart to the veins when the natural valves of the capillaries cannot maintain the required speed. The defibrillator, meanwhile, is an electronic device used to treat cardiac arrest. In these episodes, the heart “fibrillates” and loses the right pace. This device is responsible for returning that rhythm.

Typically, these devices already have protective mechanisms that are responsible for recognising and filtering any interference that occurs in the environment. However, there are a number of electronic devices that patients can come across, and do create an electromagnetic field that can temporarily affect the functions of the pacemaker or defibrillator.

An electromagnetic interference is said to occur when the magnetic field of an electronic device interferes with the operation of another. It is not too uncommon as many of the most frequently used electronic devices can interfere temporarily the field of a pacemaker or defibrillator.

Among our products, the T-10 Tag and the AC50 Activator are potential sources of interference for pacemakers and defibrillators.

 

How will pacemakers or defibrillators respond?

Possible answers to interference between signals from implanted devices and PAS system devices to protect people include:

  • Asynchronous stimulation: If the pacemaker/defibrillator recognises the electromagnetic interference signals as noise, it can start generating stimuli that are isolated to the intrinsic cardiac activity.
  • Inhibition of stimulation: When electromagnetic interference signals are misinterpreted as a normal heartbeat, implanted devices may generate stimuli that does present the correct rhythm.
  • Inappropriate Shocks: electromagnetic interference signals can also be interpreted as an accelerated heartbeat, so the pacemaker/defibrillator might send the user unnecessary shocks.

 

What precautions can be taken?

It is important to understand that these effects are temporary and can be cancelled if the patient steps away from the source of interference, or if the system is shut down. In that case, the device will return to its normal operation immediately.

There are NO irreversible or serious consequences.

Above all, if you know you will be in the proximity of a PAS Pedestrian Alert System, we recommend that you visit your doctor as a precaution. No one is better qualified than your physician to inform you about the specific consequences that electromagnetic interference may have on your device, because the reality is that every condition responds differently to this challenge.

The best solution is to simply keep a precautionary distance of at least 30 centimetres between the implanted device and the T-10 tag.

It is also best to place it on the opposite side of the pacemaker/defibrillator. The recommended distance increases when using the AC50 activator. In this case, we recommend to stay at about 10 metres from it.

Lastly, another way to expand the knowledge on the response of the implanted devices is to approach the manufacturers themselves, or finding the information required in their official websites.

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