According to a recent study conducted by European scientists, smartphones interfere with pacemakers and it’s better for patients who wear one to keep a distance of 6 to 8 inches between the phone and the pacemaker.
The new study was presented at the meeting of the European Society of Cardiology’s European Heart Rhythm Association and Cardiostim, where researchers warned patients who wear pacemakers to stay at a safe distance from smartphones, in order to avoid unwanted interferences between the two devices, such as painful shocks and unwanted pauses.
Dr. Carsten Lennerz, from the German Heart Center and one of the authors of the new study, explained that smartphone interfere with pacemakers because the latter mistake the electromagnetic interference emitted by the phones as cardiac signals.
This can make the pacemaker stop working for brief periods of time.
These pauses can be very dangerous because they can cause the ones who wear the pacemakers faint.
Also, the researchers said that the implantable cardioverter defribillators will treat the skip in rhythm as a ventricular tachyarrhythmia, which will prompt the pacemaker to deliver a painful shock in order to avoid the heart condition that can be fatal.
The US Food and Drug Administration and the manufacturers of the devices recommend that those who wear pacemakers should keep a distance of at least 8 inches between them and the mobile devices.
This recommendation was based on a test that was done more than 10 years ago.
The new study also recommends that to keep a distance between the two devices, and doctors added that those who wear pacemakers should use the smartphone on the ear opposite to the pacemaker.
The researchers who conducted the recent study wanted to see if the distance recommended by the first study still applies now, since mobile devices, as well as pacemakers changed from ten years ago.
According to Dr. Lennerz, previous studies have suggested that ringing and connecting to a network are the most vulnerable stages of a call. The new study wanted to analyze both phases separately.
The doctors tapped 308 participants, 147 of whom wore pacemakers, while 161 had ICDs.
The participants were then exposed to electromagnetic fields from three different smartphones.
The study revealed that patients who wear cardiac devices should not use their smartphone too close to the pacemaker because it can interfere with its signal.
The doctors advice pacemaker wearers not to put their phone in the pocket above the device and should hold it to the ear opposite to the cardiac device.
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