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MP3 headphones interfere with implantable defibrillators, pacemakers
Date:11/9/2008

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 detec
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Contact: AHA News Media Staff Office
karen.astle@heart.org
504-670-6524
American Heart Association
Source:Eurekalert

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