Pumps and heavy machinery don't mix

tip 130If you wear a pump, beware of strong electromagnetic fields (EMF). EMFs surround many daily devices – TVs, hairdryer, security scanners, cell phones, etc. – but their fields are not strong enough to affect pump operation. However, some machines, particularly medical devices, emit strong fields that are capable of disrupting the pump, which may cause the pump to over or under deliver insulin. Excessive insulin may cause hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, while a lack of insulin can cause hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar.

Devices to be wary of include:

  • X-ray machinesComputed tomography scan machines
  • Computed tomography scan machines (CT or CAT)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging machines (MRI)


In addition, strong magnetic fields can be found around lifts that mechanics use to hoist cars and even some amusement park rides.

If you think you are going to be exposed to high EMFs, especially during a medical procedure, many pump manufacturers recommend removing the pump and leaving it outside of the area where the machine is located. For more information, be sure to consult your pump manufacturer as well as your doctor, who can tell you what to do should you need to remove your pump.

Reviewed by Francine Kaufman, MD. 4/08

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