The FDA warns that smartwatch magnets affect medical devices


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that patients and caregivers keep cell phones and smart watches at least 6 inches away from implanted medical devices, such as pacemaker and defibrillators.

Today warning comes after the recent ones research report that high-intensity field magnets on newer smartphones may cause some implanted medical devices to switch to “magnet mode” and suspend normal rescue operations until the magnet moves away.

This, for example, can make a cardiac defibrillator unable to detect tachycardia events, the agency noted. Magnets can also change the operating mode, such as activating asynchronous mode on a pacemaker.

“The FDA is aware of published articles describing the effect that strong enough magnetic fields can activate magnetic safety mode when they are in close contact,” he said. “The FDA also conducted its own tests on some products that use the high-intensity field magnet function and have confirmed that the magnetic field is compatible with publications and is strong enough to activate the magnetic safety mode of the medical devices in question “.

The FDA said it believes the risk to patients is low and does not currently know of any adverse events related to this problem.

The American Heart Association has also warned that magnetic fields can inhibit pulse generators for an implantable defibrillator and cardioversor. pacemaker.

The FDA offered the following simple precautions for people with implanted medical devices:

  • Keep consumer electronics, such as some cell phones and smart watches, at 6 inches from implanted medical devices.

  • Do not carry consumer electronics in your medical device pocket.

  • Check your device using the home control system, if you have one.

  • Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any symptoms or have any questions about consumer electronics magnets and implanted medical devices.

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