Nav: Home

Pacemaker function may be impacted by electric appliances; tools

February 27, 2017

DALLAS, Feb. 27, 2017 -- Electric and magnetic fields (EMF) generated from everyday household appliances, electrical tools and more, used in very close proximity to the body, can interfere with the ability of pacemakers to regulate patients' heartbeats, according to new research in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation.

"Electromagnetic interferences with pacemakers in everyday life can occur, however, harmful interferences are rare using vendors' recommended device settings," said Andreas Napp, M.D., study author and cardiologist at RWTH Aachen University Hospital in Aachen, Germany. "Dedicated device programming is an effective measure to reduce the individual risk of interference. For example, doctors can reprogram pacemakers to a lower sensitivity to reduce EMF susceptibility."

Researchers tested under different conditions the impacts of EMF exposure on 119 patients with pacemakers, which are small battery-operated devices that help patients' hearts to beat in a regular rhythm. The patients were exposed to an EMF similar to common exposure, i.e. EMFs at power grid frequencies (50Hz or 60Hz), then increasing the EMF until the researchers noted a pacemaker sensing failure.

They found pacemakers are susceptible to EMF that can occur in everyday life in particular when programmed to maximum sensitivity or so-called unipolar sensing mode. Examples of EMF sources are powerlines, household appliances, electrical tools and entertainment electronics.

In many cases, holding the appliance, tool or other EMF source at a forearm's length distance (greater than 12 inches) limits the risk of electromagnetic interference. But further measures might be needed in environments with strong EMF, such as engines used in the processing or manufacturing industry, Napp said.

"Electromagnetic interference with pacemakers can result in bradycardia, or a slow heart rate," Napp said. "The risk of interference depends on many different factors, such as the settings of the implant or strength of the field source. In occupational environments, such as the manufacturing industry, an individual risk assessment for workers with a pacemaker is required due to the presence of a strong EMF."
-end-
Additional Resources:

Researcher photo available on the right column of the release link http://newsroom.heart.org/news/pacemaker-function-may-be-impacted-by-electric-appliances;-tools?preview=5264b16ccb51f103cbb30f2690b0cabf

After Feb. 27, view the manuscript online.

Living with your pacemaker

Follow AHA/ASA news on Twitter @HeartNews.

For updates and new science from the Circulation journal follow @CircAHA.

Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association's policy or position. The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at http://www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

American Heart Association

Related Magnetic Fields Articles:

New metrology technique measures electric fields
It is crucial that mobile phones and other wireless devices -- so prevalent today -- have accurate and traceable measurements for electric fields and radiated power.
First direct exploration of magnetic fields in the upper solar atmosphere
Scientists have explored the magnetic field in upper solar atmosphere by observing the polarization of ultraviolet light with the CLASP sounding rocket experiment during its 5-minute flight in space on Sept.
New method can model chemistry in extreme magnetic fields of white dwarfs
Approximately 10-20 percent of white dwarfs exhibit strong magnetic fields, which can reach up to 100,000 tesla.
Researchers control soft robots using magnetic fields
Engineering researchers have made a fundamental advance in controlling so-called soft robots, using magnetic fields to remotely manipulate microparticle chains embedded in soft robotic devices.
Steering towards grazing fields
It makes sense that a 1,200 pound Angus cow would place quite a lot of pressure on the ground on which it walks.
Researchers propose technique for measuring weak or nonexistent magnetic fields
Researchers at the University of Iowa have proposed a new approach to sampling materials with weak or no magnetic fields.
Magnetic fields at the crossroads
Almost all information that exists in contemporary society is recorded in magnetic media, like hard drive disks.
Researchers coax particles to form vortices using magnetic fields
Researchers at Argonne created tiny swirling vortices out of magnetic particles, providing insight into the behavior that governs such systems -- which opens up new opportunities for materials and devices with new properties.
Earth's magnetic fields could track ocean heat, NASA study proposes
As Earth warms, much of the extra heat is stored in the planet's ocean.
Simulations by PPPL physicists suggest that magnetic fields can calm plasma instabilities
PPPL physicists have conducted simulations that suggest that applying magnetic fields to fusion plasmas can control instabilities known as Alfvén waves that can reduce the efficiency of fusion reactions.

Related Magnetic Fields Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...