Before Cremation: Pacemaker Removal After Death

When a loved one in the family dies of natural causes, oftentimes it’s due to old age. If a loved one in your family passes away and they used a pacemaker during the later years of their life, but requested that they be cremated upon their death, then pacemaker removal after death is required. The person in charge of seeing to the last wishes of the deceased should also make certain that they instruct either the staff in the mortuary or the funeral home that their loved one had a pacemaker and it must be removed.

Why does the pacemaker need to be removed before cremation?

Many pacemakers use a special sealant on their casing which, when exposed to extreme heat and pressure (as during the cremation process), can explode. The reason so many crematories require pacemaker removal after death is to avoid the damage caused to the crematory chamber from flying metal during the cremation process. The repairs would be extremely costly which is why pacemakers are usually removed before cremation.

Who can remove a pacemaker after death?

Since the person having the pacemaker removed is no longer living, there is no need for a doctor to remove the pacemaker after death. Either someone working in the hospital morgue or the mortician working at the funeral home you chose will be able to remove the pacemaker from your loved one’s body. Of course, these people are trained professionals and you can rest assured that they will treat your loved one with the respect and dignity they deserve.

What happens after the pacemaker is removed?

After a pacemaker is removed, the manufacturer has the technician send it back to the manufacturer so that it can be recycled or disposed of properly. Some funeral homes make the decision to donate used pacemakers to charities that refurbish these pacemakers (It’s important to understand that they cannot be reused immediately, but must be refurbished due to blood cross contamination issues) so that those less fortunate can have access to this life saving piece of equipment.

Pacemaker removal after death is an important thing to discuss with your doctor or funeral director when making plans for your funeral and afterlife care or the afterlife care of a loved one. Take the precaution of mentioning it until you feel that the disposal has been properly discussed and you feel that they will handle the procedure with care.

For more facts on cremation, visit the Cremation Information and Trends section of our blog.


Cremation Information and Trends

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