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DBS and EMI

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I have recently had DBS surgery for generalized dystonia and my first programming session was last week. The improvement was dramatic and effective immediately (about 97% improvement). However, I am having what seem to be unusual reactions to theft detection devices in stores and other electromagnetic sources.

 

The first time I walked into a Wal Mart store, my spasms started back immediately. I used my therapy controller to check and my neurostimulators had NOT been turned off. My husband (a computer geek) suggested that I "reboot" my system, so I turned the stimulators off and then back on. That seemed to solve the problem (spasms disappeared) but of course I had the same problem upon exiting the store. I also tried another WalMart location and the same thing happened. I did not have any problems at Target, but the CVS store also caused the same problem. Again, the stimulator was NOT off, but my spasms started upon entering and exiting the store (seems cumulative if I do not turn the system off and back on before exiting the store, as a matter of fact).

 

We have a deaf daughter who uses an FM system with her hearing aid and I was sitting in close proximity to my husband when he was using the transmitter. It caused the same problem - spasms with the stimulator still on.

 

In all cases, turning the units off and back on seemed to solve the problem.

 

Can you tell me what is happening here? I called Medtronic and they did not know, but they are supposed to be getting back to me with some information. Is there a chance that the stimulators are malfunctioning?

 

Thanks!

Ramona

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Ramona.

 

It is well known that when you walk through magnetic fields such as theft detection devices, that this may cycle devices on/off/or off and then back on. That is the most reasonable scenario. As long as your impedences have been checked by your doctor, I would just carry and access review device and do what you have been doing, but I would not overly worry about this phenomenon. The other thing some patients report id anxiety attacks from the fear of walking through magnets. You may try some deep breathing as it could also be common anxiety. When you walk through if your device is still on by the access review I would leave it on and try to relax and see if it passes on its own. Glad you are doing well!

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Guest

Thank you for your reply. It was actually not any type of anxiety problem, as this happens with some theft control devices and not others. As I mentioned, it also happened with my daughter's FM transmitter.

 

The puzzling part was that the spasms started with the neurotransmitters still on, but restarting them helped them to resolve within seconds. I was able to repeat this process five times in two different locations.

 

Is there a possibility that the theft control devices somehow "scrambled" the signals being sent, or increased or decreased them, with the restarting setting them back to the programmed settings?

 

Thank you,

Ramona

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Ramona,

 

You have got me on this one. I would stick with the company and your doc. Thankfully you have a solution that works regardless of cause. Have a great weekend.

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Guest

Thank you, Dr. Okun. I appreciate your time. This is a learning process that is fascinating and scary at the same time. I can avoid the places that cause problems and, when it does happen, gather as much information as I can to help Medtronic understand what might be taking place.

 

Blessings

Ramona

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