At first glance, it may be hard to believe that a modern pacemaker can improve your heart’s health by its size. But this match-sized device is saving thousands of lives thanks to modern technology.
If you’ve recently had one implanted, your doctor may have advised you which electronic devices you should be careful with. That’s why you’re nervous about using an induction cooktop since you have one at home or are planning on upgrading to one.
But a quick search through the internet reveals a confusing debate, where some believe it’s harmful to your pacemaker while others say it’s okay.
So to settle this discussion, this article will debunk the answer to the question: is it safe to use an induction stove if you have a pacemaker?
What is a pacemaker?
A pacemaker is a device implanted near your collarbone that helps regulate your heartbeat by sending well-timed electrical impulses to your heart.
Doctors will only prescribe one to you if you have a slow or irregular heartbeat due to a heart disorder.
Installing one will require you to undergo surgery and a short period to recuperate.
But once it’s installed, you’ll have to be wary of a number of electrical devices that emit magnetic fields to prevent them from disrupting its function.
So you’ll have to do a few lifestyle adjustments since you don’t want everyday objects – like cellphones, headphones, microwaves, or hairdryers, directly near your device.
Does an induction stove affect a pacemaker?
Induction stovetop use is a long-standing discussion for pacemaker users since you can get contradicting answers depending on who you ask.
But to get the answer to this question, you must first understand how an induction cooktop works.
Unlike other types of stoves, an induction cooktop runs with electromagnetic energy. It contains hidden copper coils, which will only create a magnetic field once you place magnetic cookware on the burner.
This process directly heats up your induction-ready cookware and allows your food to cook. Since it’s advised to stay away from devices that emit electromagnetic fields, are induction hobs safe for pacemakers?
According to a study, an induction cooktop can only affect your pacemaker if it’s unipolar and left-sided while you’re standing close to the unit.
You can also feel the effects of the induction cooktop interference if the pot isn’t centered on the burner or while touching it for a prolonged period.
Another research shows that pacemakers don’t cause electromagnetic interference (EI) on 50 and 60 Hz, which is the frequency that most induction cooktops run on.
Can I have an induction hob with a pacemaker?
If the precision and speed of an induction cooktop are too tempting to resist, the British Heart Foundation recommends you stay a safe distance of 60 cm (2 feet) away from the stovetop.
But the brand and model of your cooktop can also play a role in whether you can have one at home.
Manufacturers like GE and Wolf confirm that their induction cooktops don’t pose any risk of magnetic fields, but you still need to practice caution if you have a pacemaker fitted.
They also recommend you consult your doctor and your pacemaker’s manufacturer before going near one.
Can you use an induction cooktop if you have a pacemaker?
Since it’s safe to have an induction stove in your kitchen, you might be wondering:
Can you use an induction hob if you have a pacemaker fitted?
Some pacemaker users say that they’ve been using induction stoves and don’t feel any effects as long as they don’t use them for prolonged periods.
But that doesn’t mean you’ll also have the same experience since it depends on your body’s response and your device’s brand.
Considering you’ve checked with your doctor and the manufacturer’s manual, you can find out how your pacemaker will react to an induction cooktop by going near it while it’s powered on.
Start with the lowest heat settings, then gradually increase the intensity if you don’t feel any effects.
But once you start to feel your heart rate change or your device goes into ‘Test’ mode, step away from the cooktop immediately.
Induction cooktops and pacemakers
Although induction cooktop brands consider their units safe to use for home cooks with pacemakers, a few pacemaker manufacturers also have a few precautions you’d want to keep in mind:
Medtronic pacemaker and induction cooktop
Medtronic is a healthcare technology company founded by Earl Bakken and Palmer Hermundslie in 1949. They started as a medical electronics repair business but soon developed their first battery-operated pacemaker in 1957.
Since then, they have created around 12 variations of pacemakers under their name and are currently considered one of the top manufacturers.
If you have a Medtronic pacemaker implanted, remember to keep it at least 60 cm (24 inches) away from the burner when powered on.
But if you start to feel any EI symptoms, like dizziness or irregular heartbeats, release your hold from the cooktop and move away to allow your pacemaker to return to its normal settings.
If your symptoms persist, you should consult your doctor immediately.
Boston Scientific pacemaker and induction cooktop
Boston Scientific is another leading medical technology company started by John Abele and Pete Nicholas in 1979 for the sole purpose of acquiring Medi-Tech. They wanted to create affordable, non-invasive medical devices to help improve patients’ lives.
Along with other medical solutions, they currently have about 4 pacemaker options to choose from.
If you have a Boston Scientific pacemaker, they advise you to provide a distance of at least 30 cm (12 inches) from your induction stove. But they also assure you that you’re at low risk of getting EI symptoms if you don’t lean over a working stove.
It’s also best to consult the manufacturer of your induction stove in case they have specific instructions for operating with a pacemaker.
Biotronik pacemaker and induction cooktop
Biotronik is a German medical technology manufacturer established by Max Schaldach and Otto Franke in 1963 when they developed their first pacemaker. Since then, they have expanded their operations throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States.
Aside from several medical solutions and devices, they continue to innovate pacemakers, with 6 variations available.
If you have a Biotronik pacemaker, make sure to maintain at least 30 cm (12 inches) away when cooking on an induction stovetop. But if your stovetop’s manufacturer provides instructions for operating, Biotronik prefers you follow them.
The bottom line
It may be easy to believe that an induction cooktop can interfere with your pacemaker because of its electromagnetic field.
But research shows that it’s not strong enough to cause an irregularity to its function.
Doctors still want you to practice caution when operating an induction cooktop since it can still produce symptoms like dizziness and rapid or irregular heart rate.
It’s also a good idea to go through the manuals of your pacemaker and cooktop to know if they require specific instructions for operating.
But if the restrictions are too difficult to manage, you can always choose a different type of stovetop. An electric cooktop can still provide the same sleek design as induction, while gas stoves feel familiar and easy to handle.
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