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Study: iPods not for heart patients

Posted: 14 May 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:iPod? electrical interference? cardiac pacemaker?

iPods may not be advisable to those young-at-hearts.

A study presented by 17-year-old high school student, Jay Thaker, found that iPods can cause cardiac pacemakers to malfunction by interfering with the electromagnetic equipment monitoring the heart, according to a Reuters report.

The study, presented to a meeting of heart specialists, tested the effect of popular Apple device on 100 patients equipped with pacemakers and whose mean age was 77. It found that electrical interference half of the time when the iPod was held 2 inches from the patient's chest for 5-10s. In some cases, interference occurs even at 18 inches away from the chest.

The interference by the iPod in the telemetry equipment caused the device to misread the heart's pacing and in one case even caused the pacemaker to stop functioning. Thaker, the lead author of the study, concluded that the iPod interference can lead physicians to misdiagnose.

He said that he asked his father, and electrophysiologist, regarding the potential interaction between pacemakers and the music player and both checked it online but found nothing. Thaker's father then referred him to Dr. Krit Jongnarangsin, senior author of the study and assistant professor in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Michigan.

According to Jongnarangsin, it is unclear how often iPods cause misdiagnosis since most pacemaker patients do not use the music player and recommended that the case be studied further.

Meanwhile, Thaker expressed interest in conducting a similar study on how implantable cardioverter defibrillators are affected by iPods.

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