December 4th, 2019 by
Electric blankets have come a long way in a short time. They’re now so efficient and fitted with such advanced safety features that almost anyone can use one. But does this include people who have a pacemaker fitted? We did some research and found the answer!
What’s the Worry?
The myth is that electric blankets create an electromagnetic field which interferes with the normal running of a pacemaker. This sounds concerning, so it’s worth looking into more – but luckily, it isn’t true!
Are Electric Blankets Safe to Use with a Pacemaker?
Yes, definitely! Electric blankets pose no risk to people with pacemakers, so feel free to use yours however you want. The British Medical Journal advises that you “do not need to take special precautions” in the use of an electric blanket provided it’s working properly. There are still a few things to be aware of, and although these are things you might know already if you have a pacemaker, we’ll explain them in more detail below.
Electric blankets do indeed give off a weak electromagnetic field, but this is nowhere near strong enough to interfere with your pacemaker. All modern pacemakers and blankets are heavily shielded against electromagnetic fields, so they “do not affect the function of your pacemaker,” according to the NHS website. As long as you’re using your blanket correctly, you don’t have anything to worry about.
If your electric blanket is more than 10 years old, is defective, or has been tampered with, it’s possible its electromagnetic shielding might not be working properly. This means it’s important to replace your blanket with a new model after 10 years and make sure you never buy a used model. This is good advice for anyone, but it’s especially true if you have a pacemaker!
Most pacemakers aren’t affected by high temperatures unless they’re dangerously hot. Electric blankets simply don’t get hot enough to cause your pacemaker a problem. Even if they start to get too hot, modern blankets are fitted with overheat protection systems which will cut the power long before their temperature rises to dangerous levels.
Fitting Your Electric Blanket
Depending on how active you’re allowed to be, you might want to consider how easy your electric blanket is to fit. It’s worth getting a fully fitted blanket for your bed as they're a breeze to fit. They work just like a fitted sheet, so you don’t have to worry about lifting up your mattress to tie tapes underneath it or anything like that.
Smart Electric Blankets
Everything is smart these days, so you won’t be surprised to learn that smart electric blankets – like Beurer’s Konnect range – are increasingly popular. These blankets use your Wi-Fi connection to allow you to control them using your smartphone. They’re really useful, but does this wireless connection interfere with your pacemaker?
Luckily, the answer is no; smart electric blankets don’t interfere with the operation of your pacemaker. While nearby Wi-Fi connections can cause a minuscule amount of noise in the signals used by a pacemaker, it’s nowhere near enough to make the unit work any differently. To quote researcher Fritz Mellert, MD in a WebMD article, tests show that Wi-Fi “[didn’t make] a pacemaker stop pacing when it should or pace when it shouldn’t.”
In fact, many modern pacemakers now use wireless technology so doctors and patients can monitor their performance more effectively, so you don’t have anything to worry about when it comes to Wi-Fi electric blankets!
Do Electric Blankets Affect Defibrillators?
If you have a defibrillator (ICD) fitted, you might be wondering how your electric blanket will affect it. As above, the answer is not at all! Many ICDs also act as pacemakers these days, but even if you have a standalone defibrillator fitted, there’s no risk to using an electric blanket.
Consult Your GP if You’re Worried
If you have any concerns about your electric blanket or your pacemaker, don’t take any chances – make an appointment to see your GP and discuss it with them.