Life Sciences

Headphones interfere with pacemakers, defibrillators

Device Regulation Alert: Safety, Compliance and Reimbursement News, November 17, 2008

MP3 player headphones can cause potentially dangerous interactions with implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICDs) and pacemakers, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2008.

Researches tested eight different models of MP3 player headphones. Headphones closer than 1.2 inches away from the ICD or pacemaker interfered with the device’s operation in 23% of patients studied. As a result, the researchers recommended patients not place headphones in their pocket or drape them over their chest.

In an unrelated study, researchers found that cell phones equipped with wireless Bluetooth technology and pills swallowed to view internal organs did not disrupt pacemakers and ICDs. A second unrelated study found no evidence that electromagnetic interference from personal devices adversely affects ICDs or pacemakers.

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