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Implanted Medical Devices And The TSA

Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:04 pm

I found out today that I am going to get a pacemaker implanted in a few weeks. One of my first questions for the doctor was "How will this affect going through airport security?" (a sign I'm a true a.netter... worried about air travel before medical issues). He told me that I would get a card showing I have a pacemaker and he said TSA can "run a wand over it but don't let them hold it there as it can throw it off". Is it really going to be that simple? And how about when I travel internationally? Will it cause issues going through Customs both in the US (on the way home) and in other countries?
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Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2011 3:51 pm

RE: Implanted Medical Devices And The TSA

Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:11 pm

TSA can not even find a loaded GUN. Good luck with an IMPLANT. TSA does security Custom does NOT.
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Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 12:45 am

RE: Implanted Medical Devices And The TSA

Wed Oct 26, 2011 12:47 am

Pacemakers are quite common and screeners at US airports and overseas know about them. You should have no extra difficulty. Just mention before going through the scanner "I have a packmaker implant" so that they expect the beeper to go off.
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Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2003 11:23 pm

RE: Implanted Medical Devices And The TSA

Wed Oct 26, 2011 1:17 am

I have a Cochlear Implant, and I wear the entire thing going through the metal detector and body scanner and not a peep from the machine.

Often TSA thinks its a bluetooth and asks me to take it off, and when I tell them its an Implant they are fine with it and allow me to go through.

You should carry a card just in case I do not though I admit.

I too said the same thing when I was told about the device "I have one question, and one question only, can I still fly and go through a metal detector with it?" LOL

Good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who go AFTER it!
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RE: Implanted Medical Devices And The TSA

Wed Oct 26, 2011 2:05 am

I have an insulin pump. I'd say half the time I can tell the officers notice it, but don't say anything because they know what it is. 25% of the time they ask me to take my cell phone out of my pocket, and the other 25% of the time they make me do the "hand swab for explosives" thing.

Overall, though, I have to say that the knowledge among the TSA workers of my pump is better than the average person on the street.
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Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2006 4:47 am

RE: Implanted Medical Devices And The TSA

Wed Oct 26, 2011 2:46 am


I'm in the same boat as you with an insulin pump. Though I have to say that TSA does a remarkably professional job in handling the pump through the process. I get the swab every time, though, I also just tell them upfront. There might be hope for the TSA yet!
The only way to fly is by the seat of your pants...
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Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 4:06 pm

RE: Implanted Medical Devices And The TSA

Wed Oct 26, 2011 2:48 am

I have enough faith in the TSA being stupid, I'd personaly keep a card in my wallet with the doctor/surgons contact info so that they can contact them when they assume its a terrorist device. Course that will largely depend on how "tanned" you are despite thier supposed policy of no profiling.
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Joined: Sun Aug 22, 1999 5:41 pm

RE: Implanted Medical Devices And The TSA

Wed Oct 26, 2011 6:51 am

My wife has a pacemaker.
Booklet says it should be fine going through detector.
"Should" is the problem.
She tells the security people before she goes through and they take her aside and give her a pat down. Originally she always got the wand but over the past couple of months, no wand just a pat down.

Just as an aside, you can produce a good battery if you spend enough money.

She recently had the batterty replaced, and it had been used for the past 12 years, so a good battery, but the cost A$17,000.

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Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 7:31 pm

RE: Implanted Medical Devices And The TSA

Wed Oct 26, 2011 6:46 pm

I have had a pacemaker/defibrillator since 2000 (when I was 43). In fact, they replaced the old one in 2007, so I have a new Medtronix model now.

Here are a few things to remember:

1. Always carry your card with you (from Medtronix or whatever company manufactured your device).
2. It's a good thing to wear a Medic Alert on your wrist or your neck.
3. Get a note from your doctor that says you are not to be subjected to any magnetic devices (keep the note, but show it to TSA if necessary).
4. Do not go through the regular metal scanner; first, it will definitely sound an alarm; second, it could interrupt your pacing.
5. Do not let anyone wand you (the wand has an even stronger magnetic field).
6. Tell a TSA agent when you get up to the booth that you have a pacemaker and request a manual search.
7. At some large airports, they are now using 'scattershot' technology which supposedly does not interfere with the pacemaker. I just used it at PBI a few weeks ago. No problem. But avoid the X-ray machines.
8. If you feel uncomfortable at any time, it is your right to refuse any machine and demand a manual search instead. Once in a while, you get a moronic TSA agent who will give you grief, but stick to your guns (bad choice of words).

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