Navigation Links
MP3 headphones interfere with implantable defibrillators, pacemakers

Headphones for MP3 players placed within an inch of pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) may interfere with these devices, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2008.

Researchers investigated the effects of MP3 player headphones, most of which contain the magnetic substance neodymium, on the operation of implanted cardiac devices (abstract P662).

An MP3 player is a popular digital music player. Earlier this year an FDA report concluded that interactions between MP3 players, such as the popular iPod, and implanted cardiac devices are unlikely to occur.

"We became interested in knowing whether the headphones which contain magnets not the MP3 players, themselves would interact with implanted cardiac devices," said William H. Maisel, M.D., M.P.H., senior author of the study and director of the Medical Device Safety Institute at Beth Israel Medical Center in Boston, Mass. Maisel said doctors traditionally use magnets in the clinical setting to test pacemakers, which treat slow heart rhythms. When exposed to magnets, these devices automatically pace, sending low-energy signals to the heart to make it beat. Defibrillators, which treat slow and dangerously fast heart rhythms, send either low- or high-energy signals to the heart. However, ICDs near magnets may temporarily stop looking for abnormal heart rhythms. Implanted cardiac devices that react in these ways to magnets outside the clinical setting can be potentially dangerous for patients who rely on their lifesaving technologies.

Researchers tested eight different models of MP3 player headphones (including both the clip-on and earbud variety) with iPods on 60 defibrillator and pacemaker patients.

"We placed the headphones on the patients' chests, directly over where their devices are located, monitoring them for evidence of an interaction," Maisel said.

The researchers found a detectable interference with the device by the headphones in 14 patients, (23 percent). Specifically, they observed that 15 percent of the pacemaker patients and 30 percent of the defibrillator patients had a magnet response, Maisel said.

"For patients with pacemakers, exposure to the headphones can force the device to deliver signals to the heart, causing it to beat without regard to the patients' underlying heart rhythm," he said. "Exposure of a defibrillator to the headphones can temporarily deactivate the defibrillator." In most cases, removal of the headphones restores normal device function.

The researchers also tested the magnetic field strengths of each of the headphone models using a gauss meter, which measures the units of magnetic charge produced. Field strength of 10 gauss at the site of the pacemaker or defibrillator has the potential to interact with the implantable device. The researchers found that some of the headphones had field strengths as high as 200 gauss or more.

"Even at those high levels, we did not observe any interactions when the headphones were at least 3 cm, or about 1.2 inches, from the skin's surface," Maisel said. "Patients should not focus on the brands we tested but instead should simply be instructed to keep their headphones at least 3 cm from their implantable devices." Instead, patients should not place headphones in their pocket or drape them over their chest. "For family members or friends of patients with implantable defibrillators, they should avoid wearing headphones and resting their head right on top of someone's device," he said.

In two unrelated studies, researchers did not report adverse heart-related effects on implantable cardiac devices from other devices.

Researchers in Hyannis, Mass., found that cell phones equipped with wireless technology known as Bluetooth and pills swallowed to view internal organs are unlikely to interfere with pacemakers or ICDs (abstract P651). Likewise, California researchers determined that electromagnetic interference from personal devices including iPod, iPod nano, iPhone, some cell phones (with and without Bluetooth technology), electric blankets and hand-held airport security metal detectors did not cause adverse effects to patients with pacemakers or ICDs (abstract P663).

Contact: AHA News Media Staff Office
American Heart Association

Related medicine news :

1. Keystone Dental to Pay Nobel Biocare $2 Million to Settle Unfair Competition, Trade Secret Violations, and Tortious Interference Lawsuit
2. Study Published in JAMA on RFID Interference Ignores Real-World Use Cases, According to SkyeTek
3. IPods Dont Interfere With Pacemakers, Study Shows
4. IPods Dont Interfere With Heart Pacemakers
5. SuperArray Bioscience Corporation Licenses RNA Interference Patent From The Carnegie Institution
6. Abnormal glutamine repeats interfere with key transcription factor, leading to neurodegeneration
7. Stress and Anxiety Interfere With Sleep
8. Cancer Doctors Across America Stunned at Governments Ruling Restricting Anemia Management Protocols for Cancer Patients, Call Ruling Interference in Practice of Medicine
9. Long-Term Results of VisionCares Implantable Telescope for End-Stage Macular Degeneration Published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology
10. Texcel Introduces Innovative Programmable, Implantable Stimulation System for R&D of Specialty Stimulation Therapies
11. Northwestern Memorial trials implantable device to manage congestive heart failure symptoms
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... The American Association of ... local poison centers through donations on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Since 2012, the ... that inspires people to collaborate in improving their local communities and help give ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Aided by seed funding from the Ron ... designed to yield insights into how to detect and treat pancreatic cancer (PC). ... from small, non-coding RNA molecules (ncRNA), genetic material that is present in the blood ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... , ... Dr. Rodney E. Willey , has answered a new calling – to relieve ... provides treatment for snoring and sleep apnea through oral appliance therapy. He ... Disorders in the US, one of four in the Illinois area. , Dr. Willey’s ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Autism Speaks, the world’s leading ... driven by social media and the generosity of people around the world. On December ... media networks to give – and share the personal stories behind those gifts. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Robert Yeager ... Report . Throughout the past year there have been multiple breakthroughs and challenges as ... this transition, PharmMD has enabled their customers and partners to stay ahead of the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... LONDON , November 24, 2015 ... PCSK9 Inhibitors, CETP Inhibitors, MTTP Inhibitors, ApoB Inhibitors and ... areas are going to grow at the fastest rates? ... to 2025, assessing data, trends, opportunities and prospects there. ... graphs. Discover the most lucrative areas in the industry ...
(Date:11/24/2015)...  Enova Illumination is pleased to announce a new ... to combine their world class camera and ... of medical visualization: Enova is the first manufacturer of ... and Novocam is the manufacturer of HD ... most powerful battery-operated LED headlight with high-quality point-of-view video ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Calif. , Nov. 24, 2015 Abaxis, ... manufacturing point-of-care instruments and consumables for the medical, research, ... Taylor , Chief Financial Officer, will present at the ... Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11:30 a.m. ET. The ... Palace in New York City . ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: