Magnets may pose serious risks for patients with pacemakers and ICDs

November 30, 2006

WASHINGTON, November 30, 2006 - Magnets may interfere with the operation of pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), according to a study published in the December 2006 edition of Heart Rhythm.

Researchers found that while common magnets for home and office use with low magnetic strength posed little risk, stronger magnets made from neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) may cause interference with cardiac devices and pose potential hazards to patients. NdFeB magnets are increasingly being used in homes and office products, toys, jewelry and even clothing.

"Physicians should caution patients about the risks associated with these magnets," says Thomas Wolber, a cardiologist at the University Hospital of Zurich in Switzerland and lead author of the study. "We also recommend that the packaging include information on the potential risks that may be associated with these types of magnets."

Two spherical magnets of eight and 10 millimeters in diameter and one necklace made of 45 spherical magnets were tested on 70 patients, 41 with pacemakers and 29 with ICDs. Magnetic interference was observed in all patients. The cardiac devices resumed normal function after the magnets were removed.

In an accompanying editorial, Huagui Li, M.D., a cardiologist at the Minnesota Heart Clinic in Edina, MN., writes, "This study is timely and important to attract the attention of both the public and the medical profession about the potentially serious health consequences of magnets used in decoration products... for an ICD patient, the magnet interference can be fatal."

Dr. Li concludes that manufacturers who use magnets should be required to put warning labels on their products for optimal patient safety.
-end-
Editor's Note: To schedule an interview with Dr. Wolber or receive a copy of the article, please contact Rachael Lille Moore at 202-464-3476 or rmoore@hrsonline.org.

About the Heart Rhythm Society

The Heart Rhythm Society is the international leader in science, education and advocacy for cardiac arrhythmia professionals and patients, and the primary information resource on heart rhythm disorders. Its mission is to improve the care of patients by promoting research, education and optimal health care policies and standards. Incorporated in 1979 and based in Washington, DC, it has a membership of over 4,000 heart rhythm professionals in more than 60 countries around the world.

About Heart Rhythm

Heart Rhythm provides rapid publication of the most important science developments in the field of arrhythmias and cardiovascular electrophysiology. As the Official Journal of the Heart Rhythm Society, Heart Rhythm publishes both basic and clinical subject matter of scientific excellence devoted to the electrophysiology (EP) of the heart and blood vessels, as well as therapy. The journal is the only EP publication serving the entire electrophysiology community from basic to clinical academic researchers, private practitioners, technicians, industry and trainees. Heart Rhythm received a debut Impact Factor of 2.6 and was ranked 21st out of 72 cardiovascular medicine journals by the Institute for Scientific Information. Additionally, the journal ranks fifth in the Immediacy Index among cardiology publications. It is also the official publication of the Cardiac Electrophysiology Society.

The Reis Group

Related Magnets Articles from Brightsurf:

Electrified magnets: researchers uncover a new way to handle data
The properties of synthesised magnets can be changed and controlled by charge currents as suggested by a study and simulations conducted by physicists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and Central South University in China.

Scientists design magnets with outstanding properties
An international team of researchers led by the Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal (UMR 5031, CNRS -University of Bordeaux) has discovered a novel way to design magnets with outstanding physical properties, which could make them complementary to, or even competitive with traditional inorganic magnets, which are widely used in everyday appliances.

Towards next-generation molecule-based magnets
Magnets are to be found everywhere in our daily lives, whether in satellites, telephones or on fridge doors.

Finding the right colour to control magnets with laser pulses
Scientists have discovered a new way to manipulate magnets with laser light pulses shorter than a trillionth of a second.

Researchers control elusive spin fluctuations in 2D magnets
A Cornell team developed a new imaging technique that is fast and sensitive enough to observe these elusive critical fluctuations in two-dimensional magnets.

Anisotropy of spin-lattice relaxations in molecular magnets
Scientists from IFJ PAN in cooperation with researchers from the Nara Women's University (Japan) and the Jagiellonian University (Poland) took another important step towards building a functional quantum computer.

Permanent magnets stronger than those on refrigerator could be a solution for delivering fusion energy
Permanent magnets can, in principle, greatly simplify the design and production of the complex coils of stellarator fusion facilities.

Super magnets from a 3D printer
Magnetic materials are an important component of mechatronic devices such as wind power stations, electric motors, sensors and magnetic switch systems.

Cooling magnets with sound
Today, most quantum experiments are carried out with the help of light, including those in nanomechanics, where tiny objects are cooled with electromagnetic waves to such an extent that they reveal quantum properties.

Obtaining and observing single-molecule magnets on the silica surface
Following the latest research in the field of obtaining single-molecule magnets (SMMs), scientists have taken another step on the way toward obtaining super-dense magnetic memories and molecular neural networks, in particular the construction of auto-associative memories and multi-criterion optimization systems operating as the model of the human brain.

Read More: Magnets News and Magnets Current Events
Brightsurf.com 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 Amazon.com.