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Research In Brief

This article was originally published in The Gray Sheet

Executive Summary

iPod interference: The electromagnetic field generated by an iPod portable media player may interfere with a pacemaker's telemetry ECG signal, according to a study by researchers at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan published in the April issue of the journal HeartRhythm. In 800 tests with 100 patients, 51% of patients and 20% of tests showed some interference, either atrial or ventricular high rates on rate histograms or telemetry interference. In an accompanying editorial, Andrew Krahn and Raymond Yee of the London Health Sciences Center in Ontario argue that the type of interference shown suggests the iPod interferes with the real-time telemetry but not the pacemaker itself. Although there is no evidence that portable electronic devices affect implanted devices, all such devices, including cell phones and media players, should be turned off and removed from the patient environment while the medical device is interrogated or programmed, Krahn and Yee conclude. FDA, meanwhile, is studying the effects of radiofrequency fields on devices (1"The Gray Sheet" March 24, 2008, p. 3)

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