Hyfrecators and Interference with Implantable Cardiac Devices

I have always wondered if this was an urban myth. It never stopped me using the hyfrecator before!



Investigation of Hyfrecators and Their In Vitro Interference with Implantable Cardiac Devices


BACKGROUND Guidelines exist for minimizing potential electromagnetic interference (EMI) with electrosurgical equipment in patients with cardiac rhythm management (CRM) devices. These guidelines encompass all electrosurgical devices but are not specific for hyfrecators.

OBJECTIVE To investigate the potential interference of CRM devices by hyfrecators.

MATERIALS AND METHODS Using a collagen-based saline gel, three implantable pulse generators (pacemakers) and three implantable cardioverter defibrillators were tested to measure the EMI from two commonly used hyfrecators. The six devices were tested using the hyfrecator under normal use settings and on maximum power.

RESULTS Hyfrecators did not interfere with defibrillators and affected pacemakers only when used in close proximity to the device. For the pacemakers, atrial inhibition was observed at a distance of 3 cm on maximum hyfrecator settings and 1 cm at normal use settings. Ventricular inhibition occurred in very close proximity to the device (<1 cm) or in direct contact.

CONCLUSION Hyfrecators are safe to use in patients with defibrillators and can be used in pacemaker patients within 2 inches of the device perimeter.

  1. #1 by Di Tron on February 23, 2013 - 2:35 am

    gell and human blood and muscles and nerves are different

    try hyfrecating near an electronic control surgical head lamp – from ebay- it automatically turns off
    try hyfrecating near a computer radio turns off ; this is on an 2008 PC

    the pacemaker migh go stupid whilst hyfrecating close to it but the heart still in normal rythem at that moment…. BUT how about hyfrecating at that precise moment when the heart is in VF and the the defibrillator is out of sync = one dead patient…

    use lowest setting and well away from it and hope for the best and hope that the patients pacemaker is not from ebay!

  2. #2 by Hein Vandenbergh on February 23, 2013 - 3:47 am

    Unipolar or bipolar make any difference?

  3. #3 by Alister Lilleyman on February 23, 2013 - 7:26 am

    We have a bipolar fitting for our hyfrecator which we pull out for pacemaker patients.
    Those with defibrillators I have been deactivating the device with a magnet (with cardiac monitoring) prior to diathermy.
    Another patient who has a defibrillator in situ, I sent to the local dermatology unit and they used cautery instead of diathermy.
    For diathermy over the left chest with a pacemaker directly underneath, bipolar, cardiac monitoring and short bursts.

  4. #4 by Luke Bookallil on February 23, 2013 - 11:42 am

    Very interesting. I have very worried by this, so got a cardiovascular mate to organize a magnet that I put on the defibrillator/pacemaker. Thus, I should not worry unless within 2cm of pacemaker. Many thanks Luke

  5. #5 by Hein Vandenbergh on February 23, 2013 - 9:42 pm

    “We have a bipolar fitting for our hyfrecator which we pull out for pacemaker patients.”
    So, if I understand correctly, unipolar for pacemaker pts?
    I’m always confused about this – my feeling was that you permanently cook the device if not using the correct setting.
    Exactly what is the difference between hyfrecator and diathermy?

    Have been using both interchangeably all my life, depending on where I work – no wonder I am confused.

  6. #6 by di tron on March 4, 2013 - 2:24 pm

    wanna be scared and be really scared ? want to reprogram a pacemaker …etc
    cut and paste below and find out .

    magnet deactivation – dont even go there in skin cancer clinique setting


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