A pacemaker is a medically implantable device that is implanted into a person's chest cavity to control the rhythm of their heartbeat. Generally, pacemakers are used to treat various heart disorders, such as arrhythmias that make the sufferer's heart beat in a rhythm that is too fast or too slow. The device works by sending an electronic pulse that can improve the rhythm of the heartbeat and control blood circulation in the patient's body. Pacemakers can be permanent or temporary; the modern version can even produce data regarding the patient's vital signals! Because some types of pacemakers are covered with metal, make sure you follow the procedures for people with special needs when you are traveling and must have a metal detector checked. For more detailed information, keep reading this article!
Step 1. Ask your doctor if your pacemaker contains metal
Otherwise, having a pacemaker shouldn't be a problem when you have to do a security check at the airport.
Step 2. Ask your doctor for a pacemaker identification card
The card is official, usually provided by a doctor or pacemaker manufacturer, and can be evidence of metal implanted in your body. Have the card ready to keep you out of trouble when performing security checks through metal detectors.
Step 3. Allow time between pacemaker insertion and travel time
Although it really depends on your current age, you are generally only allowed to travel by car 6 months to 1 year after having a pacemaker installed. Consult the most appropriate time with your doctor!
Step 4. Consult your condition with your doctor before traveling
Ask if there are any activities you should avoid when traveling, and ask for recommendations on what to do if your pacemaker is having problems.
Step 5. Register as a passenger with special needs when purchasing a ticket
Apply this method when you travel by plane, train, or even boat. In other words, inform your health condition or condition long before the departure time arrives. If required, you may also reserve a wheelchair when purchasing a ticket.
Step 6. Inform airport officials about your condition prior to the inspection
If you have a metal-coated pacemaker installed, try showing the identification card to airport security. You may then be taken to a different examination area and examined with a metal detector wand to make sure that the trigger for the alarm is located just above your heart.
- Some reports indicate that metal detector gates can affect the performance of pacemakers or Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICD). Therefore, it is better to ask the officer to examine you using a metal detector stick. So far, there is no evidence to suggest that the situation on board the aircraft can worsen the pacemaker's performance.
- If your doctor thinks any metal detectors can impair the pacemaker's performance, try asking airport security to screen you separately without using a metal detector, of course, after you show your pacemaker identification card that you have prepared.
Step 7. Wrap the part of the seat belt that is attached to your chest with a small towel
If you have to travel for a long time by car, use this method to protect the more sensitive chest area due to tissue damage.
Step 8. Find out if your place of stay has a home security system
Be careful, the performance of the pacemaker can be disrupted if it comes into contact with the system. Therefore, try asking if the security system can be temporarily turned off when you enter the premises to the staff on duty.
Step 9. Understand that your pacemaker can trigger alarms in public places to sound
Therefore, do not stand near the entrance of a store or library where alarm sensors are common. If necessary, present your pacemaker identification card and perform the necessary safety checks.
Don't stay too long near any type of electronic device. Be careful, the performance of your pacemaker may be affected by it
Step 10. Make a list of hospitals or clinics that can repair your pacemaker when you travel
Generally, the manufacturer of the pacemaker you are wearing (such as Medtronic) lists hospitals or doctor's clinics with addresses that can help repair your pacemaker if needed.
- Some people feel uncomfortable having to go through a separate security screening process. However, be aware that this procedure is commonly applied to people who have metal implants in their bodies (such as knee or hip implant patients). Although the filtering process will take longer, there is no need to worry because in fact you did not commit a violation. If necessary, ask security to carry out a discreet check with the utmost care.
- Many travelers decide to purchase medical travel insurance. This option is worth considering, especially if you have a chronic illness and must travel to a country that does not have a reciprocal health agreement with your home country. Although generally the insurance costs charged for pacemaker users are more expensive, at least your safety and comfort can be guaranteed to be well maintained.