Are Contemporary Smartwatches and Mobile Phones Safe for Patients With Cardiovascular Implantable Electronic Devices?

Lacour P, Parwani AS, Schuessler F, Hohendanner F, Heinzel FR, Trippel TD, Boldt LH, Pieske B, Blaschke F. Are Contemporary Smartwatches and Mobile Phones Safe for Patients With Cardiovascular Implantable Electronic Devices? JACC Clin Electrophysiol. 2020 Sep;6(9):1158-1166. doi: 10.1016/j.jacep.2020.04.033. Epub 2020 Jul 29. PMID: 32972552.

Abstract

Objectives: Given the increasing prevalence of mobile phone and smartwatch use, this study tested patients with cardiovascular implantable electronic devices (CIEDs) for the incidence and consequence of contemporary mobile phone and smartwatch-produced electromagnetic interferences.

Background: Electromagnetic interferences can be hazardous for patients with CIEDs.

Methods: In total, 148 patients with CIEDs and leads from 4 different manufacturers were subjected to 1,352 tests. Analyzed CIEDs included 51 pacemakers, 5 cardiac resynchronization therapy pacemakers, 46 implantable cardioverter-defibrillators, 43 cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillators, and 3 implantable loop recorders. To analyze a possible influence of certain distances between the mobile phone (iPhone 6) and the smartwatch (Apple Watch A1553) to the CIED, both were placed either directly above implanted devices or at the right wrist. All possible activations of the iPhone and the Apple Watch, including the standby, dialing, and connecting modes (telephone connection and Internet access) were tested. In addition, we studied incidence and characteristics of interferences with interrogation telemetry.

Results: In this study, only a single case of mobile phone-induced electromagnetic interference on a dual-chamber pacemaker was observed. Utilizing wanded telemetry, iPhone induced interferences were found in 14% of the patients. However, none of the patients showed any interference with the Apple Watch.

Conclusions: The risk of electromagnetic interferences of the iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch with CIEDs is low. However, close proximity of the iPhone 6 to implanted devices can cause telemetry interferences.

Copyright © 2020 American College of Cardiology Foundation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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