Feeds

iPod cans menace pacemakers

Bluetooth no heart-stopper, however

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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". ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Drunkards warned: If you can't walk in a straight line, don't shop online, you fool!
Put it away boys. Cover them up ladies. Your credit cards, we mean
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Murder accused DIDN'T ask Siri 'how to hide my roommate'
US court hears of cached browser image - not actual request
Cops baffled by riddle of CHICKEN who crossed ROAD
'Officers were unable to determine Chicken's intent'
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
Chomp that sausage: Brits just LOVE scoffing a Full Monty
Sales of traditional brekkie foods soar as hungry folk get their mitts greasy
Nuts to your poncey hipster coffees, I want a TESLA ELECTRO-CAFE
Examining the frothy disconnect in indie cafe culture
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
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.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?