Is it Safe for Patients with Cardiac Pacemakers to Receive Electroacupuncture?

Electroacupuncture (EA) is commonly used to relieve pain, but should not be used in patients with pacemakers due to a theoretical risk that the pacemaker will not work properly. Learn more about electroacupuncture safety.

Is it Safe for Patients with Cardiac Pacemakers to Receive Electroacupuncture?

Electroacupuncture (EA) is a popular method of relieving pain, with successful outcomes even in chronic pain cases. However, there are reports that suggest EA should not be used on patients with pacemakers, as there is a theoretical risk that the pacemaker may not work properly. Various devices and machines can interfere with implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) and pacemakers. In this study, the authors noted that electroacupuncture was more effective in reducing vomiting after chemotherapy than standard acupuncture.

The case of a 50-year-old patient with severe low back pain that was resistant to conventional and unconventional treatments was described. Generally, consumer devices and electronic devices do not affect the performance of ICDs and pacemakers. Therefore, no type of this therapy is recommended for people with an ICD or pacemaker. The people who received electroacupuncture treatment reported a significant reduction in knee pain just 24 hours after treatment. The goal of electroacupuncture is to enhance the potential healing effects of standard acupuncture.

It is important to contact the customer service of the medical alert system provider to determine if your product could pose a risk to the pacemaker or the ICD. Some medical, diagnostic, and cosmetic procedures can interfere with the functioning of the ICD or pacemaker. Wireless transmissions from telephone antennas available in the United States pose a very small risk for ICDs and an even lower risk for pacemakers. The results of this case study suggest that EA could be a safe alternative for patients with pacemakers, confirming current recommendations for use. Electroacupuncture is closely related to acupuncture, but it involves stimulating two needles with an electrical current.

Electroacupuncture is similar to acupuncture, a form of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that is widely practiced.

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