Bioimpedance Scales (bodyweight scales) and Pacemakers

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Protimenow

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I've had a bioimpedance scale for a few years, and a pacemaker for about a year less, and have recently seen warnings that these scales shouldn't be used by people with pacemakers or defibrillators.

Bioimpedance scales send a small current through the body and, based on results, it can determine body fat, BMR, and other factors related to your health. This is a very small current - the scales use four (maybe less) AA batteries, and can be used for months of testing. This means that, in addition to displaying your weight and sending a bluetooth signal to your phone, the things also send a miniscule signal through your body.

The scale manufacturers (well, SOME scale manufacturers) issue a CYA warning that if you have a pacemaker, you shouldn't use the scale.

I've used it for a while, off and on, and never experienced any issues, and my heart rate hasn't changed a bit.

I did a bit of research and found the following article: Bioimpedance analysis is safe in patients with implanted cardiac electronic devices - PubMed.

This article concludes that the scale is perfectly safe for people with pacemakers or defibrillators.

(On the face of it, this makes sense to me -- the current sent to test bioimpedance is minimal,, you have to put both feet on the scale for it to work, and there is a few feet separating your feet (and the scale) from your pacemaker unless, of course, you have the pacemaker installed in your foot and have some REALLY long pacing wires.
 
In your experience, do you believe the scale to be accurate? It sounds like these type of scales have not been found to be accurate when tested. In college, as a kinesiology student, we used a device which used this technology to estimate body fat. At the time, my impression was that it was very inaccurate. Examples would be a student who was thin as a rail, it might say 18% body fat, and then another student who was clearly over 30% fat, it would say that they were 12%.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8122302/
 
The body fat scales are rather inaccurate. If you want to track body fat, consider paying for an accurate test occasionally. A dunk tank is generally considered one of the best. Several body fat trucks in CA travel to health clubs:

http://www.bodyfattest.com/locations.html
Your lean body mass doesn't change very quickly, so once you have a baseline test, your weight gained or lost is mostly fat for quite some time (months).
 
The body fat scales are rather inaccurate. If you want to track body fat, consider paying for an accurate test occasionally. A dunk tank is generally considered one of the best. Several body fat trucks in CA travel to health clubs:

http://www.bodyfattest.com/locations.html
Your lean body mass doesn't change very quickly, so once you have a baseline test, your weight gained or lost is mostly fat for quite some time (months).
I had the dunk tank method done years ago at USC. Some work associates and I made a bet about who could get down to the lowest % body fat. We agreed to all get dunked at the USC sports department in Los Angeles to settle the bet, after 3 months of trying to get off as much fat as possible. It was not open to the general public at the time, but a call to the research department and speaking to the right person got us in.
My impression was that it was very accurate.
 
No. I don't consider these to be particularly accurate. I have tested two - from different vendors (and I suspect that they probably both use the same electronics, although one is nearly 1" thick, and the other is barely thicker than the glass top).

The measured weights are about a pound or two apart.

The software gives considerably different values for body water and other measurements. Somehow, it thinks that my ideal weight should be about 40 pounds less than the scale shows (this doesn't seem right - the other scale doesn't make such assumptions). (I don't think that I'm THAT overweight, although I can stand to lose, maybe, around 20 pounds or so. I'm working to convert it all to muscle - if my endurance doesn't force me to slow down).

The point I was making was that the bioimpedance of a scale like these is probably not a factor for people with pacemakers.
 
Useful research. But personally I don't need them to tell. I'm more like the guy on the right ... :LOL:

1680895444101.png
 
A few years ago I had my bodyfat tested in two different ways on the same day, once by calipers (skin fold test) and once by a bioimpedance machine. The results were wildly different (more than 7 percentage points) so I couldn't believe either of them. I imagine the dunk tank is the only way to know for sure.
 

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