While not always considered, cremation pacemaker removal is an essential step to prepare the body for the crematorium. Without removing the pacemaker, the intense heat could lead to an explosion within the chamber. The main risk with pacemakers is the lithium batteries found inside the devices; they can explode in the intense heat of cremation.
Failing to remove the device may not only damage the crematorium equipment, but it also puts crematorium staff at risk. Fortunately, the removal of a pacemaker is not a difficult task.
Understand the function of a pacemaker
Pacemakers are usually located just beneath the skin, below the collarbone, and to the left or right-hand side of the chest.
Its function is to monitor and measure the activity of the heart. If it detects a slowing in the heart’s pulse rate, then the pacemaker sends out a small electrical signal – undetectable to the patient – to correct it. Then, these signals pass down two thin, electrical leads sending information between the pacemaker and the patient’s heart, so it can decide what measures to undertake next.
Informing medical staff
Although it can be a distressing time after the death of a loved one, family members can be reassured that medical staff can remove a pacemaker safely without causing any great distress.
Although before cremation pacemaker removal is necessary, many family members are unsure of the steps involved in removal; you may not realize that the equipment is recyclable. So, instead of disposing of the device by burial, these life-saving devices improve the health and overall quality of life of others.
Passing on the gift of life
Charities have sprung up recognizing the value of recycling pacemakers especially for patients in poorer parts of the world, where there is limited access to advanced medical technologies.
Once crematorium staff collect pacemakers, specialists can verify the suitability of the pacemakers for future use – all with family members informed throughout the process.
The lithium-ion batteries will need replacing, while the rest of the pacemaker is sterilized and inspected, but as they are sturdy pieces of equipment, they can continue functioning with a new power source.
Once tests of the quality and suitability of the recycled pacemaker are complete, they can be fitted to patients, with these devices expected to continue to operate for another five to ten years.
With so many of us enjoying a better and longer life because of pacemakers, ensure you take the time to consider cremation pacemaker removal when you make your end of life plans. Planning to recycle your equipment not only makes the decision easier for your family members but also guarantees someone else might lead a life in full health.