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05/09/2011 06:39 PM

Electric Currents and Programmable Shunt Valves

hydroMB1984
Posts: 3
New Member

I'm hoping someone can help me out with rather random question. I have had a Codman-Hakim programmable shunt valve since 2003. I recently purchased a GoFit scale that measures body fat, muscle mass, and bone mass by sending a low-level electrical current through the user's bare feet when they stand on the scale (when standing on the scale in socks, the scale will not transmit the current, and only displays weight). The manual that came with the scale says that people with implanted medical devices--the examples it gives are pacemakers and metal plates/screws--should not use the electric current function of the scale. So far I have only used the scale to tell me my weight. I called the information number I received when I had my last shunt revision, but they were unable to tell my anything useful. I know the main thing I should be concerned about with the programmable valve is avoiding exposure to magnetic fields, but I am not sure about electric currents--basically what I want to know is whether a low-level current could possibly affect me due to the small amount of metal in the shunt valve.

If anyone here has a programmable shunt valve, and has any knowledge of how electric currents might affect it, I would greatly appreciate the feedback.

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05/10/2011 05:53 AM
Lunatic
LunaticPosts: 2
New Member

I have read a lot of books, articles, etc. about hydrocephalus and shunts, but I have never heard of problems with electric currents.

From the local medical library I have read well over 100 books, and I have seen no reference to any sort of adverse affects of low levels of current. The body fat measuring scales are quite a new product, but there have been various gadgets, toys, "lie detectors", which have been using low levels of current for a long time.

Electrical current will also take the "path of least resistance", which is up one leg and back down the other. So if any current at all even reaches the head.... I'd be surprised.

Unfortunately when I sent emails to a bunch of shunt manufacturing companies (about 6 months ago) about airport scanners and these sort of thing.... I got absolutely no reply Sad


05/11/2011 11:12 AM
tomboykimi
tomboykimi  
Posts: 112
Member
I'm an Advocate

I havent heard anything in this regard. Contact the Hydrocephalus Association. They may be able to provide you this the resources you may need.

05/12/2011 08:38 AM
Lunatic
LunaticPosts: 2
New Member

I just found a document by Medtronic who make programmable shunts, they have a "precautions" section, but don't mention any-thing about electrical current.

Here is a quote:

"Since the valve includes a magnet, special precautions must be observed around magnetic sources such as some audio headphones. Common environmental levels of electromagnetic radiation generated by security scanners, metal detectors, microwave ovens, mobile telephones, high voltage lines, computers, and transformers will not affect the valve. If a device is known to contain a magnet, keep it away from the immediate valve location i.e., the skin next to the valve. For patients that are undergoing an MRI procedure, it will be necessary for the doctor to check the valve pressure setting afterwards and readjust it if necessary."

The document is called "HYDROCEPHALUS THERAPY Living with Hydrocephalus", by "Medtronic, Inc. 2007"

http://www.medtronic.com/neurosurgery/downloads/LIT- 11032_Hydro.pdf


05/12/2011 08:56 AM
tomboykimi
tomboykimi  
Posts: 112
Member
I'm an Advocate

interesting. I didnt know that. Thanks!

05/23/2011 05:08 PM
hydroMB1984
Posts: 3
New Member

Thank you so much for your input, everyone! I called the manufacturer of my shunt a few weeks ago (Codman-Hakim), and they couldn't give me a definitive answer. Contacting the Hydrocephalus Association is a good idea, I may try that next.

Post edited by: hydroMB1984, at: 05/23/2011 05:09 PM

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