Magnetic component in e-cigarettes found to interfere with implantable cardioverter-defibrillator function

March 16, 2020

Philadelphia, March 16, 2020 - An e-cigarette carried in the left breast shirt pocket of a patient with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) caused magnetic reversion, interrupting the ICD's ability to detect and treat dangerous heart rhythm problems, clinicians report in HeartRhythm Case Reports, published by Elsevier. The patient was not aware that the e-cigarette has an integrated magnetic component, and it had suspended detection of heart rhythm problems by the ICD four times before he reported it to his healthcare team.

"To our knowledge this is the first reported case of magnetic reversion of an ICD by an e-cigarette," stated senior investigator Usha B. Tedrow, MD, MPH, and lead authors Julie B. Shea, MS, RNCS, Martin Aguilar, MD, and William Sauer, MD, from the Cardiovascular Arrhythmia Service at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA. "Given the increasing use of e-cigarettes worldwide, recognition of this potentially serious interaction appears clinically important."

A 48-year-old male with an ICD reported that he heard his device "beep" several times, both at home and at his office. There were no adverse symptoms associated with the beeping, and remote monitoring found the device was working normally. The patient denied any magnetic exposure, but data provided by the ICD manufacturer found four instances of magnet interactions with the device, corresponding with when the patient heard the tone.

Upon further questioning, the patient recalled using his e-cigarette (JUUL vape device), which he frequently stored in his left breast pocket, overlying the ICD. When the healthcare team held the device up to his ICD, it triggered the steady magnet tone. The patient was educated about the importance of keeping any type of magnet away from his ICD. JUUL's website does recommend keeping e-cigarettes away from key cards, credit cards, and other items with magnetic strips, as well as pacemakers.

"Magnets are ubiquitous in commercially-available electronic devices. They can be integrated in ways that are difficult to recognize. Although manufacturers are not routinely required to specify the strength of the magnetic fields and safety information for interference with medical-grade devices, the general recommendation is that any portable electronic or magnetic device be kept at least six to 12 inches away from an implant," noted Dr. Tedrow and Ms. Shea.

There are commercially available magnetic field meters, and even several smartphone applications, that can be used to estimate the strength of a magnet. Practically speaking, most cardiac implantable devices have a magnetic exposure upper limit of 10G, and manufacturers typically recommend a 2:1 safety margin for safe clinical operation. "As such, finding the distance at which the magnetic field is 5G or less would, in principle, provide adequate clearance for safe clinical operation of cardiac implantable devices," Dr. Aguilar added.

"Practitioners should remain vigilant regarding the use of new technology by their ICD patients. In our case, there was no adverse effect from the interaction of the e-cigarette with the device, but if it had happened during a tachycardia episode, it could have had serious, perhaps even fatal consequences," cautioned Dr. Tedrow and Ms. Shea.


Related Magnetic Field Articles from Brightsurf:

Investigating optical activity under an external magnetic field
A new study published in EPJ B by Chengping Yin, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Quantum Engineering and Quantum Materials, South China, aims to derive an analytical model of optical activity in black phosphorous under an external magnetic field.

Magnetic field and hydrogels could be used to grow new cartilage
Instead of using synthetic materials, Penn Medicine study shows magnets could be used to arrange cells to grow new tissues

Magnetic field with the edge!
This study overturns a dominant six-decade old notion that the giant magnetic field in a high intensity laser produced plasma evolves from the nanometre scale.

Global magnetic field of the solar corona measured for the first time
An international team led by Professor Tian Hui from Peking University has recently measured the global magnetic field of the solar corona for the first time.

Magnetic field of a spiral galaxy
A new image from the VLA dramatically reveals the extended magnetic field of a spiral galaxy seen edge-on from Earth.

How does Earth sustain its magnetic field?
Life as we know it could not exist without Earth's magnetic field and its ability to deflect dangerous ionizing particles.

Scholes finds novel magnetic field effect in diamagnetic molecules
The Princeton University Department of Chemistry publishes research this week proving that an applied magnetic field will interact with the electronic structure of weakly magnetic, or diamagnetic, molecules to induce a magnetic-field effect that, to their knowledge, has never before been documented.

Origins of Earth's magnetic field remain a mystery
The existence of a magnetic field beyond 3.5 billion years ago is still up for debate.

New research provides evidence of strong early magnetic field around Earth
New research from the University of Rochester provides evidence that the magnetic field that first formed around Earth was even stronger than scientists previously believed.

Massive photons in an artificial magnetic field
An international research collaboration from Poland, the UK and Russia has created a two-dimensional system -- a thin optical cavity filled with liquid crystal -- in which they trapped photons.

Read More: Magnetic Field News and Magnetic Field Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to