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Airport Security Metal Detectors and ICD's


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mandksiders I currently teach full-time working with K-4 grade students with mild disabilities. Find out more about mandksiders
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  • Airport Security Metal Detectors and ICD's

    Hi Everyone,
    We are going to Disney in a few days and I haven't flown since my ICD was inserted last year. I know everyone here says to just be hand searched but I was reading my ICD literature that I received last year and it says that my ICD may activate airport metal detectors. It then goes on to say that the metal detectors will not harm or change my ICD's setting but I need to show my ICD card to security. It also says that handheld security devices maybe passed over my ICD but should not be held in place over it.

    So, for anyone who flies regularly....do I just go through security like my ICD information says I can, or do I request not to and ask to be searched by hand? I am confused based on what I read here on the site and what the literature is telling me.


  • #2
    Re: Airport Security Metal Detectors and ICD's

    Right, it is confusing based on what the literature says. I hate to wait for a "female assist", but I always ask for a hand search. I look at it this way.........better be safe than sorry. Just plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time. I won't anyone come near me with a wand.
    Tell Mickey we all say HI!!!!
    Onward and Upward !

    Diagnosed 4/07 HCM with fixed & dynamic obstruction
    Myectomy with resected cordonae tendonae 4/08 CCF
    ICD 10/08


    • #3
      Re: Airport Security Metal Detectors and ICD's

      Thanks, Linda....

      I guess I will plan on just giving them my ICD card and telling them I need hand searched. I was hoping to avoid having to do that, but will- just to be safe.



      • #4
        Re: Airport Security Metal Detectors and ICD's

        I have found they often don't pay much attention to the card so I just tell them I have a device and they do the hand search.

        God Squad co-moderator
        Nothing is as gentle as strength and nothing is as strong as gentleness


        • #5
          Re: Airport Security Metal Detectors and ICD's

          I have flown twice since my ICD last July.
          No one seems to know or care that you have a card. I just tell them I have an ICD and they call a Woman over.
          The Woman at the Columbus Airport was the best. The Woman at the Atlanta Airport was a nightmare.
          We went to a concert while we were at Disney at the House of Blues. They were wanding people and I was nervous that they would insist on wanding me. I told them I had an ICD and they were cool. In fact, our party got in the side door and we got great seats because of it !!
          We took a cruise in Feb. I told them once and after that , we skipped right past the metal detectors. No lines for us !!

          These ICDs are a blessing in many ways.
          Have a blast !!!


          • #6
            Re: Airport Security Metal Detectors and ICD's

            I have been a frequent flyer since getting my device about 7 years ago.

            I always tell the TSA people that I have a "pacemaker." I never tell them it is an ICD because they won't usually know what that is. When you get up to the front of the line, tell the person you have a pacemaker and need a hand search. They will usually tell you which line to go to and then you will have to wait for a female TSA officer to pat you down.

            In a couple of major airports I have also seen this scanner that they can have you walk through which does not have a magnet in it...it is sort of like a large x-ray but has no radiation. I have walked through that (in Denver I think) and had no problem.

            I just figure its not worth the possible problems and would rather have a hand pat.
            Daughter of Father with HCM
            Diagnosed with HCM 1999.
            Full term pregnancy - Son born 11/01
            ICD implanted 2/03; generator replaced 2/2005 and 2/2012
            Myectomy 8/11/06 - Joe Dearani - Mayo Clinic.


            • #7
              Re: Airport Security Metal Detectors and ICD's

              My daughter Rose has flown a bunch of times since getting her ICD last year - she just tells security she has a device, and they hand-search her - she's never been asked for her card. I think they are used to lots of passengers with pacemakers. Probably not so many 16-year-olds, but they've always been nice about it. In Italy, they didn't even search her when she told them, they just waved her through.
              Wish we were going to Disney with you - have fun.
              Mother of Rose, DOB 3/29/93, diagnosed with HCM at age 12, and Sara, 4/17-87-8/3/06, sara-london-hinman.memory-of.com, died of cardiac arrest at 19 due to HCM and bulimia.


              • #8
                Re: Airport Security Metal Detectors and ICD's

                I was at the airport twice this week. And I've been to the airport a half dozen times since my ICD went in. I just walk through the detector and haven't had a problem. The machine doesn't go off and it's never messed my settings up.

                Quite frankly, I forget I have the thing.
                HOCM diagnosed Oct 2008
                ICD Dec 2008.
                Myectomy May 4, 2009
                SCD -- Father 52, Grandfather 48, GGF -- late 30s.
                Please don't tell me you're praying for me.


                • #9
                  Re: Airport Security Metal Detectors and ICD's

                  Metal detectors emit a fairly strong magnetic field, which is distorted by nearby metal. The distortion of the field is what the detector identifies.

                  ICD's can be turned off by a strong magnet. Therefore being wanded or walking through a metal detector can, in theory, turn off your ICD and cause it to beep. That can be disconcerting, and for a short time you are unprotected. If you are being paced any disruption can of course be very serious.

                  However, newer detectors use much lower energies and are probably harmless. One scientific study done in Europe confirms that airport screening devices did not affect ICDs, with and without pacing. However the study concludes that manufacturer's recommendations may take a long time to change, and compliance with these guidelines should be followed until such time that they feel it is safe.


                  • #10
                    Re: Airport Security Metal Detectors and ICD's

                    I've found it takes a wee bit longer but its worth it in the long run to be hand searched then have to worry if your device is mis-configured or turned off. I just tap on it and security assigns someone to do the search. Some are better than others. You'd be surprized how many places wand you - Courthouses, theaters, studios etc. Most are very accomodating.

                    Keep hydrated in Disneyworld!
                    Diagnosed @ 48
                    Saw Dr. Michael Debakey @ age 5 - "He's fine, just a little noisy"
                    Father to 3 boys 22, 25, 29 (all currently clear - pending genetics)
                    AICD - Valentines Day '08, Spark Plug replaced 11/14
                    After much research, I had a Myectomy @ Mayo for my 50th Birthday '08
                    Quietly going insane . . .


                    • #11
                      Re: Airport Security Metal Detectors and ICD's


                      I've only been handsearched since getting my ICD. They never pay much attention to my card either, but I always have it. And I start out telling them that I have an ICD/defibrillator, and if they look at me funny, I'll say a pacemaker. (I figure I start out trying to educate them. One time it actually led to a conversation about HCM.)

                      Anyway, I have found it usually takes LESS time than the line to walk through the metal detector. If I'm traveling with my family, I have time to get my shoes back on and stuff back in my pockets and ready to help them to do the same.

                      Have fun.

                      Originally posted by ConcernedMom View Post
                      In Italy, they didn't even search her when she told them, they just waved her through.
                      And Miv, that's a little disconcerting!
                      Philippians 4:4-9; Wife, & 39 yo Mom to 9 year old son and 6 year old son/daughter twins; Diagnosed with HoCM 1999; Cleveland Clinic Myectomy and ICD, January 2006.


                      • #12
                        Re: Airport Security Metal Detectors and ICD's

                        The Boston Scientific website has this to say about ICDs and airport metal detectors:

                        Security systems (in airports, jails, courthouses, etc.)
                        - Walk through security archways normally
                        - Tell security personnel you have a device and show Medical Device ID card
                        - Security wand should not be held over device more than about 30 seconds; ask for hand-search if possible

                        Gantry-style scanners: okay. Wands: not okay.

                        See http://www.bostonscientific.com/temp...ent/index.html for more info
                        Diagnosed at age 14 with HCM; ICD Implant at age 24 (first shock less than one year later); Take Verapamil (360mg/daily) and Toprol (50mg/daily)


                        • #13
                          Re: Airport Security Metal Detectors and ICD's

                          I just walk through. I use to get the hand search, but I called Medtronic and the Rep said you are ok if your just walking through.


                          • #14
                            Re: Airport Security Metal Detectors and ICD's

                            I have flown many times and always walk through with no problem. The Boston S. reps and doctors told me it would have no impact. They also said that the worst a wand would or a magnet would do would be to deactivate it for the time that it is near the magnet. According to them, my only risk would be if I had a heart issue in those few seconds. After that, it returns to normal.


                            • #15
                              Re: Airport Security Metal Detectors and ICD's

                              I don't believe in taking chances. I've flown many times with my ICD and always tell security that I have one and am always patted down. It's inconvenient but better safe than sorry. Why risk it. I have never been asked to show my card but always carry it with me.