Can I use an induction hob if I have a pacemaker?
I’ve only just found out that induction hobs might cause problems with my pacemaker. Do I need to be worried?
Dr Mike Knapton replies:
Pacemakers are small electrical devices that regulate electrical activity in the heart. Anything that produces a strong electromagnetic field can interfere with a pacemaker.
Induction hobs do generate electromagnetic fields, so keep a distance of at least 60cm (2ft) between the stovetop and your pacemaker. Most people should be able to use a hob if they follow these precautions, but if you are choosing a new cooker, it may be easier to pick one that is not an induction hob.
If in doubt, check the written information given to you when your pacemaker was inserted
Other appliances that contain a magnet include handheld hairdryers, older shavers with an electrical cord, large stereo speakers, electric toothbrushes and base chargers of ultrasonic toothbrushes. If you do use any of these, keep them 16cm (6in) away from your pacemaker. If you do get too close, don’t panic – moving further away again should mean that your pacemaker settings return to the correct level.
Devices to avoid if you have a pacemaker
If you have a pacemaker you should avoid these devices completely:
- abdominal stimulators (used for building muscle)
- electronic body fat scales
- magnetic mattress pads or pillows
- welding equipment (with currents above 130 amps).
If in doubt, check the written information given to you when your pacemaker was inserted. This can be quite detailed, so it is worth reading it carefully. You can also ask your clinic for advice if you have questions about a particular appliance. The important thing is: if in doubt, ask.
Meet the expert
Dr Mike Knapton is Associate Medical Director (Prevention and Care) at the BHF, overseeing the strategic role in helping patients and the public reduce their risk of heart disease. He was a GP for 30 years and is a director at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge.