I own a 1920 Model T Ford and I recently had a Pacemaker placed. I am hesitant to drive the car or work on it because of the voltage and magneto, and the medical experts cannot give me a clear answer. Does anyone have an answer for me.
Sent you a PM
I don't worry about it.
Medtronics, one of the major manufacturers of pacemakers, states that you should keep a magnet at least 6 inches away from the chest. Since the magnetic energy drops by a square of the distance (energy at 2 inches is 1/4 that at 1 inch), most work around a T is not of significance. In the unlikely event that the magnetism from a magneto magnet or other electromagnetic interference is too close to the pacemaker, it simply goes into a pre-set pacing mode or, if a defibrillator, won't activate until you move further away from the magnet. Once you further away from the electromagnetic source, the pacemaker reverts back to it's programmed mode. Medtronics suggests avoiding welding if using over 160 amps, and chainsaws only because if it was too close to the chest and you became unsteady while holding a chainsaw, the chainsaw could injure you. The information is available if you look for it on the pacemaker's website. Unfortunately, in my experience, most cardiologists don't have a clue how much energy is necessary to cause a problem and just blanket state to stay away from magnets, lawnmowers, engines, rechargeable drills, microwaves or whatever "just to be safe". In my opinion, that's like telling you to stay away from cars to decrease your risk of an automobile accident.
Noel, Thank you for posting that concise bit of information. A few years ago there was a long thread on the same subject that basically came to the same conclusion as you've posted.
Model T's and pacemakers have both been around for so many years that we certainly would know of problems with them anyone had experienced.
I am mentioning this after what a friend went through after having a pacemaker installed. If you have a name badge that is held on with a magnet.. DO NOT USE IT! My friend put her ID tag on just before attending her first post-pacemaker club event. She went home early as she was feeling tired and a bit light-headed. When she got home she removed the name badge and realized it was the problem. Sure enough she recovered quickly after removing the magnetic badge.
I wouldn't worry about it. I've had a pacemaker for a couple years and have driven my T and used an arc welder without a problem. Doc said if you feel any thing weird using the welder just stop. So far no problems. I asked why it's advised not to use a chain saw but a backpack leaf blower is OK. He said same with the blower as with the welder but the chain saw was just too dangerous.
Good info. Thank you Noel and all for responding to an important T and health question. What a great forum....
Dr. Chicoine It's great to have you on this forum and in this hobby.
That's really interesting information. My 95 year old dad lives in an assisted living residence. The staff there gives every resident a magnetic name badge. It's not an issue for my dad, but there must be at least several residents who could be effected. I'll pass this along.
Thanks for the comment!
Yes, a magnetic name badge placed over the left pocket would just about be on top of where most pacemakers are placed. They'd likely be fine on the right..
I need to clarify. On some pacemakers, particularly some of the older ones, but also I believe on different companies newer ones, a magnet turns off the pacemaker. Placing a magnet over the pacemaker turns it off and allows us to see the underlying electrical rhythm of the heart. If the pacemaker was put in due to a slow heart rate or frequent non-conducted beats (often "sick sinus syndrome"), the magnet may turn off the pacemaker and the patient may revert to their underlying rhythm that may be too slow or they may have frequent skipped beats or 2+ second pauses between beats. That will make them feel whoozy or light headed but removing the magnet or them from the magnet would allow the pacemaker to resume the action it was doing. Similarly, if it has a defibrillator function, this will be shut off so if by chance your heart chose that moment to go into ventricular fibrillation, the shock to convert the heart to a normal rhythm won't occur until the magnet is removed. Most modern pacemakers have a covering that protects them from only the strongest magnets but a magneto magnet placed directly over the pacemaker is probably strong enough to turn it off.
I find your comments very interesting in light of observing what's done at the assisted living residence where my dad lives. There are about 110 residents with an average age of around 90. Staff issues each resident a magnetic name badge and encourages them to be worn. Given that the primary objective is to provide safe, quality care and the fact that undoubtedly there is a relatively high percentage of heart patients in the resident population, it sure seems odd they've overlooked this.
Thanks for your comments.
OK here is my opinion.
It is worth less than a cup of coffee or the wing of a bug on a windy day. So be ware!
I believe that the faster you go in a Model T the faster your heart beats.
A magnito gives off more energy as you go faster.
Therefore if your pacemaker goes faster with more energy the Model T and pacemaker go together very nicely
Here's my input,for what it might be worth. Do not pick up a flywheel with the magnets facing your chest.
Henry, you might mention this concern to the residence director the next time you visit your dad. If they blow you off, ask them to consult their medical director or a cardiologist.
I like it Fred!
Norm, just don't hold the flywheel against your chest. The magnets may be able to hold a 2 1/2 lb piston if in direct contact, but it likely can't pick up a small nut from 6 inches.
And if you have a V-P shunt .... stay the hell away from everything magnetic! Learned this the hard way unfortunately.
I talked to the staff there this morning. Turns out they've changed to pin type name badges for the very reason we discussed here.
Depends. if it's a Lucas pacemaker your days are numbered anyway.
That said, a good friend of mine has a pacemaker, he was fooling with the ignition on a 30's car, got a jolt from the coil that fried his pacemaker, had to have it replaced.
Ya just gotta be careful around electromagtricity, I guess....
I'm the guy who posted this question, and I was surprised to hear so many interesting comments. You have put my mind at ease. However, I still have not received the monitor box, they say it is on back order, so I will play it safe and wait until I receive it before working on or driving my model T. I was thinking I would have to sell the car, but you gave me the OK to keep it. Thanks. I will continue to monitor this site to see any further comments.
Just wrap yourself in tinfoil before each drive Anthony - you'll be absolutely fine !!