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HRS: Low Risk of Headphone Interference With Pacemakers

No interference seen when headphones are at a distance of more than 2 cm from pacemaker

THURSDAY, May 5 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of interference from headphones on active implanted cardiac medical devices (AICMDs) is very low, but may occur when headphones are in direct contact with the device, according to a study presented at the Heart Rhythm Society's Annual Scientific Sessions, held from May 4 to 7 in San Francisco.

Kok-Swang Tan, Ph.D., from Temple University in Philadelphia, investigated the interference effects from different types of headphones on AICMDs, such as implantable cardiac pacemakers (ICPs) and cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). A total of 21 different headphone models were tested in a human torso simulator in direct contact with AICMDs and at a distance of 2 to 30 cm from the AICMD. AICMD malfunctions were noted.

The investigators found that measured static magnetic flux densities (B) of the headphones were 0.4 mT or less at a distance of 2 cm and 11.8 mT or less at the surface of the device. At a distance of 2 cm or more from the surface of any of the AICMDs, there was no interference observed from any of the 21 headphones or earbuds. Of the 21 headphones and earbuds, 11 were found to cause interference when they were in contact with 11 of the ICPs, but not ICDs. These headphones had a B value of more than 7.4 mT.

"Although the risk of interference from headphones or earbuds on AICMDs is very low, cardiac patients should keep headphones or earbuds at least 2 cm from an AICMD and should not let the headphones or earbuds hang from the shoulder or neck," the authors write.

Abstract No. PO2-09
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