Using Medical Alert Systems with a Pacemaker

Using Medical Alert Systems with a Pacemaker

time icon 5 min read update icon Sept. 17, 2019


There are millions of seniors worldwide fitted with pacemakers. With so many seniors relying on pacemakers to live, a medical alert system can serve as a contingency plan in the event the pacemaker fails to function properly.


Pacemakers can grant a second life to seniors who have heart problems. Unfortunately, seniors living with pacemaker soften report that they are afraid that the device will malfunction. Any fault in the system, such as battery depletion, exposed wiring, or electromagnetic interference, could lead to catastrophic or even fatal consequences. If the senior is wearing a medical alert device, the alert button can be pressed and emergency help will immediately be on the way.

As an added precaution, to ensure that the medical alert device does not interfere with the pacemaker, the senior’s doctor and the manufacturer of the pacemaker should be contacted to confirm that the medical alert device and pacemaker are compatible.

Medical Alert Systems with Pacemakers

1. Provides Peace of Mind

If a pacemaker malfunctions, the senior may begin to have difficulties breathing, feel dizzy, or have an immense chest pain. At the onset of a malfunction, there is a very small window in which help can be received and every second count. If the senior is wearing a medical alert device, the alert button can be pushed effortlessly and emergency help will immediately be summoned. The medical alert company will have the senior’s medical history on file and if the senior is not able to reply, they will assume that the situation is serious and medical personnel will be immediately dispatched. A medical alert system can serve as the extra layer of protection needed to save lives. Like pacemakers, medical alert systems can grant seniors another chance to live a full and rich life.

2. No Interference

When a senior has a pacemaker implanted, it is wise for them to be aware of all possible electromagnetic interference, or EMI. EMI occurs when certain household objects, medical equipment, or medical procedures interfere with the way the pacemaker works. Some pacemakers are designed to allow seniors to safely undergo MRI scans under certain conditions, due to safeguard implementation of the system’s design, but others do not have this feature. Additionally, seniors should find comfort in knowing that most reputable medical alert companies boast that their products do not cause interference with pacemakers since the hardware does not contain any magnetic components. Still, be sure to check.

3. Get Regular Checkups

To ensure that the pacemaker is functioning properly, it is vital for seniors to receive regular checkups from their medical providers. As pacemakers operate on batteries, it is essential that the device is checked annually to ensure stability. A pacemaker requires regular monitoring to ensure that it is functioning properly and according to the needs of the senior. Functionality is checked by connecting the device to a computer while using electrodes that are attached to the senior’s body. The functionality check is completely safe and is facilitated only by trained technicians. It is also essential that seniors advise new doctors, dentists and other medical personnel that provide them with care that the pacemaker is installed.

Medical alert systems require basic testing on a regular basis to ensure they are functioning properly.  Depending on the medical alert company, some tests are automatically performed, while others require the tests to be completed manually. Be sure to do your homework and know the procedure for the system you have in place.

4. Easy to Travel

Traveling with a pacemaker and medical alert system is easy and safe. Seniors should be sure to plan trips in advance and make sure to communicate intentions to their doctor and loved ones. If necessary, the senior’s doctor can help them to find a physician to connect with at their destination, in the event additional care is needed. If the senior will be flying, TSA checkpoint agents are properly trained on screening procedures of those with pacemakers and similar devices, however, it is important for the senior to inform the agent of the pacemaker before the screening process begins.

If desired, the senior can use the universal peacemaker Notification Card to discreetly notify the agent of the pacemaker. Seniors who have a pacemaker should avoid being screened by a metal detector; they should instead request to be screened by a pat-down or imaging technology.


Pacemakers can help give seniors the chance to enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle. When paired with a medical alert system, the senior will have an added layer of protection. Pacemakers are rarely reported have failures, but it is important to note that malfunctions can happen.If the senior experiences a medical emergency or if the pacemaker malfunctions, seniors can immediately press the medical alert panic button and the monitoring center will be immediately notified. A medical alert device in addition to a pacemaker can help to ensure that seniors are able to live active and happy lives without the worry of what can go wrong.

T. Mashae Pearson - Senior Advisor

Shae is senior researcher with Grandfolk® providing in-depth product and service reviews to empower senior buying decisions.

For parent
55 Years
New Hartford NY

We purchased a medical alert system for my Mom about 2 years ago, which she uses only at home. At that time the product we bought had mobile system available, but because my Mother has a pacemaker we were told she could not wear a GPS monitored device because it will interfere with the signal. Do you know if this still applies? We are considering changing to a mobile device and want to be sure it’s compatible. Thanks