Does the pacemaker need a distance from a smartphone?

People who use a pacemaker sometimes worry that smartphones will disrupt the function of their vital systems. A study now shows whether the fears are justified.

The risk that modern smartphones will disable pacemakers or implantable defibrillators is very low. This is the opinion of experts based on a current study.

Due to the risk of interference from browsing and telephony, the Recommendation actually applies to a safety distance of 15 cm between Mobile phone And the planting To be kept. “This general recommendation seems out of date to us,” says cardiologist Florian Blasch of Berliner. charity.

On the hand or on the implant

In one study, Blaschke and other researchers, together with A. IPhone 6 And one Apple Watch (1st generation) Screening of 148 transplant recipients to see if they are interfering with the devices’ functionality – if they are using a smartphone or smart watch Use in the hand area and when used on the phone or surf while lying directly over the implant.

Result: There was no interaction with the smartwatch. However, the smartphone caused a malfunction of an older pacemaker model when the phone was directly above it during use. “In this case, the patient felt palpitations and dizziness,” says Philip Lacour, a Cardiologist at Charity, who also worked on the study. But this was the only case.

It is best not to put it in your shirt pocket

Lacoure concludes from the results: “There are no daily restrictions for implant wearers when using smart watches or smartphones.” As a patient, you don’t have to be unnecessarily afraid of new technologies. “However, you don’t necessarily have to carry your smartphone in a shirt pocket directly over the implant,” he adds.

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Cardiologist Professor Thomas Minnerts from Hamburg evaluates the new study positively and considers it reasonable: “It’s a very good job. So far, we have observed very few clinical issues with a smartphone. This work is encouraging one on this note,” says an expert from the Scientific Advisory Board German Heart Foundation.

Is the margin of safety no longer appropriate?

German Society for cardiology The German Society for Occupational Medicine and Environmental Medicine had already written in a joint statement in the summer of 2019 that this 15 cm safety distance from implants, as recommended ten years ago, is no longer required for modern smartphones with Internet functionality because the interference risk is low. Extremely. The guidelines may need to be adapted.

At the same time, it was said: wearers of pacemakers or implanted defibrillators should maintain a distance of at least ten centimeters from the inductive charging stations.

Disturbances in remote query

The statement said that even if modern devices – provided they are programmed according to the manufacturer’s recommendation – are not usually affected by electromagnetic fields, implant wearers should be careful when handling certain everyday electrical devices, for example, there should be at least 25 A cm between the implant and the induction cooker.

The current study also examined the extent to which smartphones could interfere with remote querying of implants at a doctor – here there was interaction in 20 of the 148 people tested, that is, in 14 percent of cases. In practice, however, this shouldn’t play any role: “While inquiring about the pacemaker, you won’t usually make calls or surf the web,” he says.

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important note: The information is in no way a substitute for professional advice or treatment by trained and recognized physicians. T-online content cannot and should not be used to independently make diagnoses or initiate treatment.

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