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Using ultrasonic scalers on patients with pacemakers

I’ve been taught (as I’m sure we’ve all been), that we cannot use ultrasonics with patients that have pacemakers. Recent studies have been showing that it makes no difference as long as the pacemaker was installed after the 1980’s, as the newer ones are shielded. Chances are extremely high that your patient has one of these shielded pacemakers. Articles I have read, as well as 2 patients that I have that are cardiologists, say that the worse that could happen is the patient may have some slight tachycardia.
So, why am I bringing it up? What’s wrong with just hand scaling these patients? Well, most of my patients that have pacemakers, have bad homecare. Not a cause/effect, just a correlation. Who wants to handscale all that buildup every 3,4,6 months?
Both cardiologists that I spoke to say that we could put the lead apron over them to use the ultrasonic and it will certainly prevent it from interacting with it.
What are your thoughts on this?

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1 Answer

This question has been answered in an earlier post. This was my answer:
Pacemakers use to be un-shielded many decades ago. Pacemakers are now shielded and ultrasonics can be used. I used mine on a pt with a pacemaker just this morning. I always make sure I stay at least 4-6 inches away from pacemaker while the hand piece is active.
You can also cover up pt chest with the lead apron too if you are too paranoid.
I have never had any issues with pacemaker patients and ultrasonic.
When is the last time you saw a sign on a convenience store microwave that warns about pacemakers etc..?

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