Interference between cellular telephones and implantable rhythm devices: a review on recent papers
Francis, Johnson and Niehaus, Michael (2006) Interference between cellular telephones and implantable rhythm devices: a review on recent papers. Indian Pacing and Electrophysiology Journal, 6 (4). pp. 226-233. ISSN 0972-6292
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Background Cardiac pacemakers and implantable defibrillators are potentially susceptible to electromagnetic interferences as they have complex circuitry for sensing and communication purposes. Cellular telephones being an important source of electromagnetic waves are likely to cause interference in the function of these devices. Methods A systematic analysis of studies on interaction between cellular telephones and implantable devices was done using professional databases for literature. Related articles and references of relevant articles were also searched for suitable studies. Results Fourteen studies on pacemakers and eight studies on implantable defibrillators were identified. No dangerous malfunction was found in any of the analyzed studies, but most of the studies noted interference with device function when the phone was operated very close to the device. Interference was minimally in those devices with built in feed-through filters for eliminating electromagnetic interference. Device programming and interrogation were the most susceptible phases of operation. Summary Cellular phones are likely to interfere with implantable rhythm devices if operated in close proximity or during programming of the device. Patients with implanted devices can safely use cellular phones if they are not carried close to the implanted devices or operated near them. Carrying the cellular phones in the belt position, receiving calls in the ear opposite to the side of the implanted device and keeping the phone as far away as possible while dialing can be considered a safe practice. Interrogation of the devices should take place exclusively in areas where utilization of cellular phones is strictly prohibited. Studies on pacemakers published in the current decade have shown much lesser rates of interference, possibly due to improvement in device technology.
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