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Emp's and Pacemakers?

3748 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Ripon
I don't know what made me think of it, but if we were to be hit with an EMP, would that not stop pacemakers from working?
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The USA's 1962 'Starfish Prime' nuclear test accidentally blew out street lights and stuff in Hawaii 900 miles away, but I don't think anybody's pacemaker was affected.
WIKI- "Starfish Prime caused an EMP which was far larger than expected, so much larger that it drove much of the instrumentation off scale and caused electrical damage in Hawaii, knocking out about 300 streetlights, setting off numerous burglar alarms and damaging a telephone company microwave link"

An interesting snippet from the net-
"Things that are encased in metal cases (known as Faraday cages) will be immune to EMP. So your car engine quitting after an EMP is probably unlikely due to the fact that the automotive electronics is well shielded by the engine block and the metal car body which creates a sort of Faraday cage.
Likewise, your Pacemaker may be encapsulated in metal...I think that it is highly unlikely that EMP will take out your Pacemaker if it is metal cased, but what do I know? I've only been working with defense electronics for 35 years and have advanced degrees in electrical engineering as an emeritus principal researcher at a major university"
EMPs and pacemakers - Pacemaker Club

But pacemakers ARE affected by magnetic fields (which are different to EMP's) and should be avoided, this from the net-
"Any kind of an activity that involves intense magnetic fields should be avoided. This includes activities such as arc welding possibly, with certain types of equipment or maintaining heavy equipment that may generate intense magnetic fields..
A 2008 U.S. study has found that the magnets in some headphones included with portable music players, when placed within an inch of pacemakers, may cause interference.
Some standard medical procedures such as the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be ruled out by the patient having a pacemaker.
However, in February 2011 the FDA approved a new pacemaker device called the Revo MRI SureScan which is the first to be proven safe for MRI use. There are several limitations to its use including certain patients qualifications, body parts, and scan settings.
In addition, according to the American Heart Association, some home devices have a remote potential to cause interference by occasionally inhibiting a single beat. Cellphones available in the United States (less than 3 watts) do not seem to damage pulse generators or affect how the pacemaker works."

Artificial cardiac pacemaker - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

And the Earth has been zapped by several solar flares (EMP's) but I don't think any of them hurt pacemakers-

"March 1989- a major solar flare shorted out Quebec's power grid. Circuits also overloaded in Great Britain, New York and Virginia. A critical transformer melted in New Jersey.

November 2003- an "X" solar flare, the strongest of solar storms, temporarily disabled many satellites, killed one satellite completely and and burned out an instrument on a Mars orbiter. The crew of the International Space Station took shelter, reporting elevated radiation readings and "shooting stars" in their own eyes.

September 2005- a string of "X" solar flares caused lesser disruptions to major power grids and knocked out the GPS system completely for ten minutes.

June 2011- a moderate solar flare caused minor satellite disruption, unusual amount of static on phone lines."
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