Magnets in Portable Electronic Devices May Interfere With CIEDs

Magnet reversion mode triggered at distance between 8 and 18 mm for devices such as Apple AirPods Pro, Apple Pencil, Microsoft Surface Pen

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TUESDAY, March 1, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Magnets in portable electronic devices (PEDs) may interfere with cardiovascular implantable devices (CIEDs), according to a research letter published online March 1 in Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology.

Noting that a clinically identifiable magnetic interference has been reported in vivo between the iPhone 12 Pro Max and CIEDs, Corentin Féry, from the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland in Muttenz, and colleagues focused on PEDs (Apple AirPods Pro and their wireless charging case, the Microsoft Surface Pen, and the Apple Pencil second generation), which exhibit strong magnetic fields and might often be carried in a pocket close to CIEDs. Three-dimensional mapping was performed with up to 2-mm resolution. Ex vivo measurements on the minimal safety distance were performed on five different implantable cardioverter defibrillators from two manufacturers.

The researchers found that the farthest point where a 10 G intensity has been measured is located about 20 mm and 29 mm from the surface for all displayed Apple products and for the Microsoft Surface Pen, respectively. At a distance between 8 and 18 mm, magnet reversion mode was triggered for the tested PEDs.

"These devices can cause a problem when carried in your shirt or jacket pocket in front of the chest, as well as when you are lying on the couch and resting the electronic device on your chest, or if you fall asleep with the electronic device," Féry said in a statement. "The main thing to remember is that any electronic device may be a danger, especially ones with a magnet inside."

One author disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical and medical device industries.

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