Pacemaker and Keyless access, possible health problem

Ran across this warning in my owner’s manual (Subaru Forester). Don’t have a pacemaker, but I thought to make this warning more public, for those who do.

Keyless access with push-button start system (if equipped)

If you wear an implanted pacemaker or an implanted defibrillator, stay at least 8.7 in (22 cm) away from the transmitting antennas installed on the vehicle.

The radio waves from the transmitting antennas on the vehicle could adversely affect the operation of implanted pacemakers and implanted defibrillators.

The map (which took some searching to find) shows 6 antennae scattered through the interior and exterior. I can just see someone with this (poorly drawn) map and a ruler trying to find a safe zone to sit in the car… sure…

1 Like

Bug report: in the above post, I had three paragraphs set in italics, and the preview showed them that way, but the actual post only has the first paragraph in italics.

I’ve also wondered about cellphones, bluetooth and wi-fi affecting pacemakers.

Wi-fi uses the radio frequency of 5Ghz and 2.4 Ghz, Bluetooth uses 2.4 Ghz, pretty much the same as a microwave oven. Car radar sensors also use 2.4 Ghz. So if your pacemaker is sensitive to microwave ovens as many are, that might be a bad thing for you.

Cell phones don’t use the same frequencies, they use 824 to 896 Mhz, 890-960 Mhz, 1710-1755 Mhz, and 2.1 Ghz 2.1Ghz is close, maybe close enough.

I’ve got a friend with one and he uses his phone all the time. In fact they even check his heart over the internet. Microwave ovens are an issue though. Rest assured though, the docs go over the do’s and don’ts with a pacemaker before they let you go.


manual says: Radio frequency: 134 kHz

This is so low, I doubt it could bother a pacemaker, but I’m no expert on them.

I’ve had an implanted pacemaker since 2006, and these warnings used to freak me out. Fortunately, modern pacemakers don’t use the same frequencies as these devices. Besides, the worst thing that can happen if a radio signal does interfere with your pacemaker is that it might not work until you get away from the signal, but mine only kicks in 8-12% of the time, usually while I’m sleeping. My pacemaker only kicks in if my heart rate drops below 50 BPM.

At first, when I got my pacemaker and read the warnings, I wanted to get rid of everything wireless in my home, the wifi, cordless phones, etc., but I’ve been using bluetooth, cell phones, keyless entry and wifi without any problems for 11 years.

Those warnings are all about CYA, and they’re relics from when Pacemaker technology was in its infancy. Remember all those “Warning: Microwave oven in use” signs? There’s a reason they don’t have to post those anymore.


It’s conceivable that interference could cause the pacemaker to output extra pulses, causing a rapid or erratic heartbeat.

It’s not really a pulse that a pacemaker sends to your heart (at least I wouldn’t use that word to describe it). The signal a pacemaker sends to your heart mimics the signal your brain sends to your heart, telling it to beat. You might be thinking of an implanted defibrillator, and both pacemakers and defibrillators have safeguards that prevent this.

Marketing Director Arthur van Es of Volvo Car Netherlands emphasizes the need to deploy more AEDs: “The lack of AEDs is a major problem in the Netherlands. A person’s chance of surviving cardiac arrest is significantly higher if CPR is started within six minutes. So every minute saved immediately improves the victim’s chances of survival and health. We want to achieve this with our pilot. ”

Much acclaim Volvo’s vision to protect people in and around the car as well as possible is the reason to contact HartslagNu, the national resuscitation call system. The initiative to equip Volvos with an AED immediately met with a lot of support from both HartslagNu and the 150,000 volunteer civilian emergency workers covered by this. Hundreds of volunteers with a Volvo signed up for the pilot. One requirement was that the Volvo in question is equipped with Volvo On Call.
Specific training

The first twenty Volvo drivers to participate in the pilot have been selected based on their background, personal motivation and experience. The average number of kilometers that someone drives in the intended area was also looked at.

All twenty selected Volvo drivers were present at the special introduction day of the Volvo Lifesaver pilot (Saturday, November 9, 2019) at Broekhuis Volvo in Assen. This location has been deliberately chosen; the number of AEDs in the northeast of the Netherlands is the lowest.

During the introduction day, the selected drivers received specific training focused on the use of the AED kopen in their Volvo. Volvo Car Netherlands also offers them driving skills training that has been specially developed for general practitioners. This should give the participants more confidence and ensure that they can reach the resuscitation address safely.

The Volvo Lifesaver pilot lasts a year and is a success if at least one life is saved, say Volvo Car Nederland and HartslagNu.

I wonder how my fellow BMW drivers view this. I am on the road a lot and am considering buying such a thing. I just don’t know which one?

Anyone tips?

Sure, I can offer some tips.

Buying an AED means regularly changing the batteries and testing the unit. You can’t just forget it is there and then expect it to work when you need it.

Using an AED in a crisis can be harrowing, so read the directions ahead of time, and maybe even practice setting it up.

The new ones are really nice. You just hook them up and turn them on. If the patient needs to be shocked, the unit will shock the patient. There is no guesswork, but trying to read the instructions while someone is suffering a heart attack is no bueno.

As for which model or brand you should buy, find out what the police in your area carry in their cruisers and ask whether they like it.

Lastly, if you’re going to carry an AED in your car, and you’re willing to use it on a stranger, go ahead and get certified in CPR and first aid, because the AED is a small part of the overall picture.

Don’t be disappointed if you never get a chance to use your AED, and if you do, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t save the patient. By the time someone needs CPR or an AED, that person is basically dead already or on death’s door, and you’re trying to bring them back to life. If they’re breathing and they have a pulse, they don’t need CPR, and if you hook up the AED, it might or might not actually shock the patient, depending on what the patient needs. Only if you tested the unit recently can you trust that the patient isn’t being shocked for the right reason.


The company purchased an AED for our store but decided it was more of a liability until proper training could be held.

Back when I had to push hard to buy AEDs and get them installed. Some of the folks above were afraid of the liability. I told them what about the liability if someone has a heart attack and we don’t have one accessible? I got my way but you have to maintain them with battery charges, software updates, and so on. Not to mention the on-going training of staff to use them, and know when it is necessary to rip open the blouse on a high power female laying on the ground. It’s not all roses. All in all a good thing but I’m not sure I would want one for my car. I’m not able hardly to keep the power pack charged, let alone an AED.


There is an important aspect to this that my paramedic friend talks about. If you’ve had anything to drink (or smoke, or whatever), don’t touch the patient. Offer to call 911, but don’t touch the patient.

My CPR instructor told us a story about how he came upon a car stopped on the highway with two overdosing heroin addicts inside. He wasn’t about to touch them to perform CPR, but he called 911 and waited for police to arrive before leaving.

Just because you know CPR and you know how to use an IED, doesn’t mean you have to, or should in every circumstance.

(This is why I don’t drink in bars where the bartenders drink on duty. If I need help, who’s going to give it?)


You’ll have to check the good Samaritan laws in your area, but generally you are required to lend the assistance that your ability and training provides for without endangering yourself. So if you are trained and have equipment, it is not beyond reasonable that you just couldn’t stand by and do nothing. Just something to consider as families of victims look to cash in whether reasonable or not.

An anecdote to share: While I was waiting to get my implanted defibrillator, I read the literature that they give to patients. Part of the literature was Q&As.
Question: “If someone is touching me when the defibrillator discharges, will they feel a shock?”
Answer: “Absolutely! Particularly if there is skin-to-skin contact and moisture is present.”
Question: “What will happen if the defibrillator discharges during sex?”
Answer: (Actually, I don’t recall the exact answer, but the gist of it was:) “You can forget about ever convincing that person to have sex with you again.”


And watch out for your iPhone 12, too:

That’s why the CPR instructor only waited for the police to show up, and didn’t stick around.

Goodmorning Whitey,

Thanx a lot for your tips. I’ve asked around and the police in our country uses the AED of Physio Control. I think it’s the lifepak cr2. But I don’t know which one the have. I think this is a really new one and the AED is expensive. Wich AED’s do you use in your country?

I already followed first aid, but never practised with an AED. I find a few company’s in my neighbourhood, but the train with an othe AED…

I hope to never us an AED, but i find it my responsibilaty to help the people arround. I’ve got the money and if I can save one life, then its ok. I lost my dad with heart problems, but that is already 8 years ago.


Pacemakers and defibrillators have always been a developing technology, and will continue to be. The most important thing to know thoroughly are the precautions for the particular device that is inside YOU, not any body else who has posted. These devices can be programmable for your particular condition. Have a conference with your cardiologist when you have concerns such as those presented here.