Airport security?

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Elcarim

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 17, 2007
Messages
123
Location
Victoria, Australia
Not sure if this is the place for this, but I was just wondering what people's experiences were with airport security when you have a mechanical valve and/or pacemaker. I have lots of bits that show up on an x-ray, from sternum wires and pacemaker leads to the actual implanted devices. I went through airport security once when I just had sternum wires and a tissue valve and nothing happened. But in a couple of weeks I am flying to London from Australia and I am nervous about going through airport security. I am pacemaker dependent, as I have complete heart block from a damaged pacing node. I have heard of people being treated as trouble makers for asking for a pat-down search. I was planning on going through security in tracksuit pants and a singlet, putting everything else through the scanner and just being patted down in public. Would love to hear some real-life experiences.
 
We just flew a few weeks ago. My son said that he had a pacemaker and they sent him to a special line. They were very considerate with him and came to me to explain that they had to do the pat down thing. He lost his wallet the morning of the flight (Teenagers!!!!!!!!!!!!!) so I was a little worried because he did not have his Medtronic card; but, there was no hassle at all, just told the guard that he had a pacemaker and they handled it. BTW, this was a domestic flight, not international.
 
I have two mechanical valves (aortic and mitral) and I've never had problems with airport security. I don't think you'll have anything to worry about.
 
I had no trouble in the airports on my trip to Hawaii. I did set off a hand held scanner in one port when I was trying to get back on the ship. I beeped when the guy ran it over my chest. I don't know if it was the valve or the wires. Poor fellow, I think he was Spanish but I know he was Catholic because when I tried to explain and showed him my scar he got a spooked look on his face, made the sign of the cross and sent me straight through. I was kind of funny.
 
The only time I have had a problem with airport security was at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport when I declined to remove my shoes 3 years ago (before it was required). Other than that, no problem whatsoever. (I don't have a pacemaker, just sternal wiring & mechanical valve.)

I have 2 friends who work for the Transportation Safety Administration, one at the Seattle, Wash., airport (Sea-Tac), the other at Dallas-Fort Worth. I will e-mail both about what medical devices aren't safe going through security. The one at Sea-Tac should be very up on that; she has an insulin pump and has herself gotten hassles from TSA agents at other airports across the U.S. Tried to tell them they can't legally require her to disconnect the pump and finally had to pull out her TSA badget & demand to speak to a supervisor. Knowing her, I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end! :eek:
Therefore, I expect she is fully aware of what can/can't go through security without a patdown.
 
I don't have a pacer and

I don't have a pacer and

I never have anything metal on me at airports, no belts or barretts or etc., but once last year during European international travel I set the machine off and had to get hand patted in front of everyone but they were quick and methodical and dignified about it and it was over before I could be horrified. I figured it must have been the sternum wires and their machine must have been set more delicately. The security in that airport, at least that day, was extremely tight and we had to show our passports, etc. over and over again.
 
Hi,

I don't have a pacemaker, but do have a mechanical heart valve.

I travel back and forth to Europe every 2 weeks, and have been for the last 2 years. I have no problems at security in regards to my valve.

rgds,
Rob
 
Nope, so far it has never been a problem for me. I have been through airports several times since my surgery. In addition,the medical alert bracelet on my wrist has never acitivated anything.

Karl
 
Valves won't set off the detectors, but pacers and artificial hips will. I always tell them before I go through that I AM GOING TO SET OFF the detector because of my hip. I always get pulled aside and have the pat down and wand run on me.
 
Never had a problem with my St. Jude valve.

Totally unrelated, but funny (at least to me):
When we flew to London as few years ago my wife's D-cup underwire bra set off the metal detector. She was mortified as they used the hand-held wand to pin-point the "problem areas" as about a hundred people in line behind watched. Didn't help things that I was laughing my head off, especially when I suggested that she take if off and go through again just to make sure.

Took a while for the bruise on my arm to heal from the punch I got while walking down the jetway...;)

Mark
 
I've had my St. Jude valve for going on 26 years and never had a problem with going through the metal detectors with it. But a few years ago, I had a pacemaker/defibrillator implanted. I always have a pat down instead of going through the metal detector. I've read some articles that say it's OK to go through them with the pacer or defibrillator, but I choose not to. You should never have them check you with a hand held wand though. It could mess up the pacer or defibrillator settings if they hold the wand too long over the implant area. Most US airports have signs that tell those of us with these types of devices to let them know so you don't have to go through the metal detector. Allow for some extra time though for the pat down. Oh, by the way, they've never asked to see my device card that I carry. LINDA
 
Airport Stuff

Airport Stuff

I flew to Seattle a few weeks ago for a job interview and tripped the metal dectector at the airport in Denver. The security folks simply told me to step back and did some kind of adjustment on the machine and I walked through with no problems.

They did give my plastic bags of meds a good look, but otherwise there were no problems.

-Philip
 
MarkU said:
Never had a problem with my St. Jude valve.

Totally unrelated, but funny (at least to me):
When we flew to London as few years ago my wife's D-cup underwire bra set off the metal detector. She was mortified as they used the hand-held wand to pin-point the "problem areas" as about a hundred people in line behind watched. Didn't help things that I was laughing my head off, especially when I suggested that she take if off and go through again just to make sure.

Took a while for the bruise on my arm to heal from the punch I got while walking down the jetway...;)

Mark

Mark:
Several friends have reported that their underwired bras have set off airport metal detectors. They get patted down, while their luggage gets opened and inspected.
 
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