The Pacemaker question: Form AB
Modern battery-powered pacemakers (PPMs) and implanted defibrillators (ICDs) can explode in cremators, occasionally causing substantial damage to the cremator and/or injury to attendants (reference: Gale 2002).

The legal definition of “
biomechanical aid” is any implanted battery-powered device.
  • It does not refer to inert metalware or other implants with no risk of explosion: e.g. joint prostheses, Portacaths.
  • it does include Implanted Cardiac Defibrillators (ICD) or nerve stimulators.
  • Note that a body could contain both a pacemaker and a separate ICD

A registered doctor must sign Form AB (usually incorporated in Form B) to confirm that a battery-powered biomechanical aid is not present.

Previously, the Medical referee could ask the embalmer or funeral director to confirm this but the wording of the updated regulations specify that it must be a doctor.
For Coroner cases, the pathologist who performs the autopsy should issue a Form AB certificate.

Cremation Regulations 1973
S.7: Duties of Medical Referee.
(1) A Medical Referee must not permit any cremation unless a certificate in form AB in the First Schedule to these regulations has been given by a medical practitioner…

Cremation Regulations 1973 (SR 1973/154)
S.2: Interpretation.
Biomechanical aid means a cardiac pacemaker or any electronic device that is battery operated

* Reference:
Gale CP, Mulley GP. Pacemaker explosions in crematoria: problems and possible solutions. J Royal Soc Med 2002; 95: 353-5