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MP3 Player Headphones May Throw Off Cardiac Devices
Date:11/9/2008

study tested eight different types of MP3 headphones with iPods on 60 patients with defibrillators or pacemakers.

The headphones were placed on patients' chests right over their devices. Fifteen percent of patients with pacemakers and 30 percent of those with defibrillators had a response to the magnets.

But even higher-strength magnets had no effect when kept at least 1.2 inches above the device location.

"It's good information, but I don't think it's going to be a big deal," said Dr. Spencer Rosero, an associate professor of medicine in the electrophysiology unit at the University of Rochester Medical Center. "In very unusual circumstances, it can interfere, but the situation has to be just right, which doesn't really apply for daily living. . . It would not kill you."

And even a front shirt or jacket pocket is unlikely to be right above a pacemaker or defibrillator, he added. "Pacemakers are usually two-to-three fingerbreadths below the collar bone. Most pockets are not that high," Rosero said.

Two other studies being presented at the heart meeting also absolved other devices from interfering with pacemakers and ICDs.

According to one set of researchers from Massachusetts, Bluetooth cell phone technology, and capsules equipped with tiny cameras that are swallowed to view internal organs, did not interfere with the devices.

And another group of researchers from California found that electric blankets and hand-held airport security metal detectors, in addition to iPods, iPhones and Bluetooth, did not affect pacemakers or ICDs.

More information

The American Heart Association has more on implantable medical devices.



SOURCES: Daniel Morin, M.D., staff electrophysiologist, Ochsner Health System, New Orleans; Spencer Rosero, M.D., associate p
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