Some consumer electronic devices, such as certain cell phones and smart watches, include high field strength magnets. Recent studies have shown that consumer electronic devices with high field strength magnets may cause certain implanted medical devices to switch to “magnet mode” and suspend normal operations until the magnet is moved away from the medical device.
Many implanted medical devices are designed with a “magnet mode” to allow for safe operation during certain medical procedures such as undergoing an MRI scan. These safety features are typically engaged by physicians with the use of a high field strength magnet that is placed near the implanted device placing it into a “magnet mode.” Removal of the magnetic field causes the device to return to normal operation.
Precautions for Patients with Pacemakers and Other Implanted Medical Devices
The FDA recommends patients keep any consumer electronic devices that may create magnetic interference, including cell phones and smart watches, at least six inches away from implanted medical devices, in particular cardiac defibrillators. Many implanted medical devices have FDA-approved information written for patients (patient labeling), which cautions patients to keep all cell phones and smart watches at least six inches from the implanted medical device.
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