[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 31-Jan-2008
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Contact: Charlotte Webber
press@biomedcentral.com
44-020-763-19980
BioMed Central

New research shows that iPods do not interfere with cardiac pacemakers

A report in the open access journal BioMedical Engineering OnLine refutes claims that portable music players, such as Apple's iPod, interfere with cardiac pacemakers.

Howard Bassen, a researcher with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in Rockville, Md., led a research team that measured the magnetic fields produced by four different iPod models: a fourth-generation iPod and an iPod with video, and an iPod nano and iPod shuffle. They also measured the voltages delivered inside the pacemaker by the magnetic fields from the iPods. All measurements indicated there would be no effects on users with cardiac pacemakers.

Over the past year, a spate of media reports speculated on iPod interference with cardiac pacemakers. These reports, however, were based on a single incident where a patient with a cardiac pacemaker suffered dizziness while using an iPod. Cardiologists operated an iPod during the patientís examination, and noted interference with the pacemaker.

The cardiologists published their results in the medical journal, Heart Rhythm.

After publication, there was talk of warning labels for portable music and video players, although a subsequent clinical study failed to show any dangerous connection between the music devices and patients with pacemakers.

Now, Bassenís more detailed study demonstrates that iPods are not capable of producing electromagnetic interference in implanted pacemakers.

Using a 3-coil sensor, the team measured the magnetic field produced by the iPod at a distance of around 5 to 10 millimeters. They obtained readings for the magnetic field at various specific and small regions 10 mm from an iPod. The peak magnetic field strength was 0.2 millionths of a Tesla, a value hundreds of times lower than the levels capable of interfering with a pacemaker.

In addition, Bassenís team attempted to detect any voltages these fields might produce within the protective "can" of a pacemaker. The can was placed inside a simulated human torso used by pacemaker manufacturers for interference testing. Bassen and his team found that the voltage levels within the pacemaker can were well below the detection limits of their highly sensitive equipment.

"Based on the observations of our in-vitro study we conclude that no interference effects can occur in pacemakers exposed to the iPods we tested," Bassen concluded.

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Notes to Editors:

1. Low frequency magnetic emissions and resulting induced voltages in a pacemaker by iPod portable music players
Howard Bassen
BioMedical Engineering OnLine (in press)

During embargo, article available at: http://www.biomedical-engineering-online.com/imedia/1533011479160209_article.pdf?random=877782

After the embargo, article available at journal website: http://www.biomedical-engineering-online.com/

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Centralís open access policy.

Article citation and URL available on request at press@biomedcentral.com on the day of publication

2. BioMedical Engineering OnLine is an Open Access, peer-reviewed, online journal that is dedicated to publishing research in all areas of biomedical engineering.

BioMedical Engineering OnLine is aimed at readers and authors throughout the world with an interest in using tools of the physical sciences to advance and understand problems in the biological and medical sciences. There are biomedical engineers in countries throughout the world, and the results of their work are scattered and often difficult to access. This publication promotes the rapid and free accessibility of articles for biomedical engineering researchers everywhere. The result is a worldwide community of biomedical engineers who are linked together by their various research interests and their values in promoting benefits to all of humanity.

3. BioMed Central (www.biomedcentral) is an independent online publishing house committed to providing immediate access without charge to the peer-reviewed biological and medical research it publishes. This commitment is based on the view that open access to research is essential to the rapid and efficient communication of science.



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