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 Power Tools 
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Joined: August 30th, 2009, 4:52 pm
Posts: 70
Post Power Tools
Hi all,

I was warned about using power tools now that I have my ICD as many of them produce large magnetic fields. The impression I got though was that I'd have to hold the power tool right next to the unit for it to do any damage.

Does anyone out there with an ICD regularly use power tools?

In case you're all wondering I've got a framework to finish off for a model railway and I'm feeling 'in the mood' to get it done this weekend.

Cheers JB

September 24th, 2009, 2:33 pm
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Joined: April 18th, 2009, 7:19 pm
Posts: 8434
Location: Broomfield, Colorado
Post Re: Power Tools
We had a run at this several weeks ago. Some of our group work in machine shops. My understanding is try and keep the motor several inches away for your ICD. I was told no heavy vibrations like a chain saw or some recuperating saws can cause. Watch out for the oppsies


Medtronic-Visia AF implanted 7-8-2016 stayed with the with 6947 Sprint Quattro Secure lead. Original ICD implant 2-4-2009.
Major heart attack, carcinogenic shock and quad bypass 10-13-08 post myocardial infarction, old inferior MI complicated by shock and CHF, combined, Atherosclerosis, abdominal aortic Aneurysm, Seroma 7 cm, left leg. Stent in the left main vein 10-7-2014

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September 24th, 2009, 3:10 pm
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Joined: June 21st, 2009, 5:07 am
Posts: 264
Location: Orlando, Florida
Post Re: Power Tools
JB, just do it. One thing I was not joking about is the fact that I do firewood. I will be running a chain saw. I have a remote control boat that I have been using for the past three weeks. I have used my drill (right handed) and a skill saw. Just don't put them against your icd. I have also learned that the biggest risk of EMI (electro magnetic interferance) is it could shut down your icd for the couple of minutes/seconds while the power tool possibly interfered with your ICD.


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Major heart attack. Diagnosed with CAD and Cardiomyopathy 5/28/2009.
5 stents installed 5/28/2009
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September 24th, 2009, 3:24 pm
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Joined: November 24th, 2007, 12:01 pm
Posts: 335
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Post Re: Power Tools
I've not paid much attention to such warnings and will use a power drill (cordless and not) whenever I feel like it. However I am right handed and the ICD is on the left side, so ICD and power drill tend to normally stay away from each other a bit. I wouldn't worry about it but remain alert the first time you do it.

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September 24th, 2009, 3:25 pm
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Joined: August 30th, 2009, 4:52 pm
Posts: 70
Post Re: Power Tools
Thanks guys!

I'll make sure everything is a distance away from the unit - I am right-handed. I'll be using a drill and a circular saw so it shouldn't be too difficult to do that.

@myred - it was your comment about firewood on another thread that reminded me to ask this question - cheers!

Thanks again for your responses.


September 24th, 2009, 3:56 pm
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Joined: May 31st, 2006, 7:58 am
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Post Re: Power Tools
hugooc wrote:
remain alert the first time you do it.

So I guess after a night on the town and a hefty buzz on, sawing down a tree with a chainsaw is not a good idea because of the ICD?


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Round One: ICD implanted Feb. 2006: Medtronic Intrinsic, 2 leads- St.Jude 1388tc (Atrial), 6947 Medtronic Sprint Quattro Secure (RV/SVC).....
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September 24th, 2009, 4:01 pm
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Joined: September 20th, 2008, 6:58 am
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Location: NB, Canada
Post Re: Power Tools
I continue to use circular saws, electric drills, jigsaws, chain saws, weed-whackers, whatever.... left-handed. I hold none of these up to my chest when I operate them, and think that position would be difficult as well as clumsy. Have had no problem, my ICD has been interrogated after the use of these.... no effect at all. ... But that's me.

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September 24th, 2009, 4:05 pm
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Joined: November 24th, 2007, 12:01 pm
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Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Post Re: Power Tools
Kramozzam wrote:
...sawing down a tree with a chainsaw is not a good idea because of the ICD?

Heck, if I'm really lit up I might do it like this guy... but keeping the chainsaw 6 inches away from the chest.

Give me my damn data. Nothing about me without me.

September 24th, 2009, 4:21 pm
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Joined: July 18th, 2009, 2:25 pm
Posts: 261
Post Re: Power Tools
That video is funny--because that wasn't my house. Now if that guy had an ICD it didn't fire from the chainsaw but from the adrenaline rush he got when he saw the tree crash down on his house.

September 24th, 2009, 4:36 pm
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Joined: January 8th, 2008, 1:18 pm
Posts: 332
Location: Dallas, TX
Post Re: Power Tools
I have used all my powertools with no issues, even welding without any issues. So, no problems here.

September 24th, 2009, 5:00 pm
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Joined: September 14th, 2009, 2:36 pm
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Post Re: Power Tools
Don't see anything in my "ICD's for Dummies" book, but logic says I would recommend you never, ever, ever use any power tools on your ICD. There are no user serviceable parts inside, and opening the device can result in permanent damage, serious injury, or death...and you guys thought I was just another pretty face.

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September 24th, 2009, 5:01 pm
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Joined: August 13th, 2008, 12:37 pm
Posts: 1128
Post Re: Power Tools
Hey guys

The main reason chain saws seem to be on the list is due to the ungrounded potential from the spark plug. When it is igniting, the electronic potential could possible travel your arms and x your heart. So...I don't think it's abouit the vibration so much. I use an electric chain saw...but then I am not cutting 40 chords of oak for the winter. ... s-answers/
Cut and paste from a Medtronics article:

I read in my Patient Manual
that I should avoid welding
and the use of chain saws.
Unlike most other household
power tools, welders and chain
saws are two tools that may have
a higher tendency to temporarily
affect the normal function of
your pacemaker or implantable
Chain Saws
The spark discharge of the
ignition system of a gasolinepowered
chain saw produces
electromagnetic (EM) energy
that may affect your pacemaker
or implantable defibrillator.
Effects may be caused by current
inadvertently conducted into your
body (leakage current), or by the
EM field. You may not feel the
leakage current passing from one
hand to the other through your
body, but it may still affect the
operation of your heart device.
Gas-powered chain saws that
have the spark plug located near
the handgrips pose a greater risk
of conducting leakage current.
Your pacemaker could
continuously pace your heart if
it were to detect either leakage
current or the radiated EM
field. This may result in an
irregular heart rate if your heart
were beating on its own. Your
implantable defibrillator could
deliver a shock if it detects either
leakage current or the radiated
EM field.
Some heart devices can be
programmed to the rateresponsive
mode. These types
of heart devices have special
sensors that detect changes
in activity and increase or
decrease your pacing rate
accordingly. Rate responsive
heart devices may sense
vibrations generated by both
electric and gas-powered chain
saws, increasing your pacing
rate. These heart devices,
however, are designed with a
limit on how fast they will pace.
Most importantly, if you become
lightheaded or dizzy and lose
control of an electric or gaspowered
chain saw, it could
result in injury.
Because of the random nature of
the EM energy generated during
welding (including AC arc, DC arc,
MIG, TIG, plasma) it is difficult to
predict the effect on your heart
The EM energy generated from
a welding arc can cause your
pacemaker to continuously pace
the heart. If your heart is beating
on its own, this may result in an
irregular heart rate.
The intense EM energy generated
when spot welding or starting a
bead may cause your pacemaker
(including the pacemaker
function of an implantable
defibrillator) to pause temporarily
if it were pacing your heart. Your
implantable defibrillator could
detect the EM energy from the
welder (especially when spotwelding)
as a fast heart rhythm,
causing it to deliver a shock.
Will welding or using a
chain saw damage my
pacemaker or implantable
defibrillator in any way?
No, use of these tools will not
cause any permanent damage
or re-programming to your
pacemaker or implantable
defibrillator. Any potential effects
will end when the welding is
stopped or when the chain saw is
turned off.
Welding and Chain Saws
Implantable Pacemaker and Defibrillator Information
Patient Services: 1 (800) 551-5544, x41835

Let me know if this helps. Also - any day I expect a white paper from Medtronics with more detailed EMF and gauss related information..


I am trying to develop a lifestyle that does not require my presence.

September 24th, 2009, 5:23 pm
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Joined: September 22nd, 2009, 9:14 pm
Posts: 53
Location: Ohio, USA
Post Re: Power Tools
For many of us who are older and are, more or less, set in our ways it's going to take more than a medical device manufacturers warning to pry our power tools from our hands. Not to mention, for some of us, our occupations and lively hoods.

I work deeply in RF out in the field amongst varied strengths of electrical and RF power and, besides the nightly glowing, have suffered no ill effects to body or device. My first week back to work a snow storm rolled through the area. I could be found with a chain saw slicing up trees that fell across an access roads for a cell site. My only concern at the time was making sure I didn't push it.

I'll continue to take all warnings referencing RF, EMF and associated unseen things seriously but with a grain of salt and live the only life I have left with common sense while attempting to push it to the limit.

Stay Alive!


"Living with diabetes is like living with a tiger. If you feed
it, groom it, never turn your back on it; you can live with a tiger. If
you neglect it; it'll pounce on you and rip you to shreds."

September 24th, 2009, 8:04 pm
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Joined: December 19th, 2005, 8:12 am
Posts: 817
Post Re: Power Tools
I pretty regularly use a 3/4" Electric Drill, Circular Saw and a Table Saw without any problems. I've got an electric weedeater but I do use a gas powered chain saw once or twice a year -no problems. I don't think you'll have any problems working on a model railroad.

September 25th, 2009, 3:26 pm

Joined: August 30th, 2009, 4:52 pm
Posts: 70
Post Re: Power Tools
Thanks guys for all the feedback especially Clint!

Some of you are obviously using much more powerful tools than my little circular saw and on a much more frequent basis too, so I guess I should be OK!

Cheers JB

September 28th, 2009, 2:02 am
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