February 04, 2021
DETROIT (February 4, 2021) – One of the newest features of the Apple iPhone 12 series of mobile devices is a strong magnet that helps align the phone on Apple’s MagSafe accessory to maximize charging – a feature that raised the curiosity of Henry Ford Heart & Vascular Institute cardiologist Gurjit Singh, M.D., and his colleagues.
Dr. Singh is an expert in cardiac electrophysiology, a specialty which deals with various electrical and rhythm disorders. He is an expert in the use of devices such as implantable defibrillators that detect an irregular heartbeat and shock the heart back into a normal rhythm, and pacemakers that use electricity to keep the heart beating. Combined, more than 300,000 people in the United States undergo surgery to implant one of these devices each year. Additionally, approximately one in four cell phones sold last year was an iPhone 12.
These cardiac devices have switches which respond to an external magnet to change how the device functions. For a defibrillator, a magnet can be used to turn the device off. For a pacemaker, a strong magnet can make the device deliver electrical impulses that cause the heart to beat out of sync, which can bring about a potentially lethal condition called ventricular fibrillation.