Feeds

iPod cans menace pacemakers

Bluetooth no heart-stopper, however

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration

US researchers have warned that the magnets in iPod headphones and those used by other MP3 devices "may interfere with heart pacemakers and implantable defibrillators".

A team led by Dr William Maisel of the Medical Device Safety Institute at Beth Israel Medical Center in Boston tested eight models of MP3 cans on 60 defibrillator and pacemaker patients by placing the headphones on their volunteers' chests, "directly over" the heart-assisting devices.

Reuters explains: "The headphones interfered with the heart devices in about a quarter of the patients - 14 of the 60 - and interference was twice as likely in those with a defibrillator than with a pacemaker."

In the case of pacemakers, the researchers elaborated, the magnet "could make it deliver a signal no matter what the heart rate is, possibly leading to palpitations or arrhythmia". An implantable cardioverter defibrillator, meanwhile, could be de-activated by a magnet, "making it ignore an abnormal heart rhythm instead of delivering an electrical shock to normalize it".

The risk is, however, a matter of close proximity - the headphones need to be within 1.2 inches of a pacemaker or defibrillator to threaten their smooth running. Maisel said: "The main message here is: it's fine for patients to use their headphones normally, meaning they can listen to music and keep the headphones in their ears. But what they should not do is put the headphones near their device."

Specifically, people "should not place the headphones in a shirt pocket or coat pocket near the chest when they are not being used, drape them over their chest or have others who are wearing headphones rest their head on the patient's chest", Maisel warned.

The team presented their findings to an American Heart Association shindig yesterday. The meeting heard that related research had concluded "cellular phones equipped with wireless technology known as Bluetooth are unlikely to interfere with pacemakers". ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?