Cell phone and smartwatch magnets can interfere with medical devices, FDA says 


The FDA issued a warning May 13 that certain cell phones and smart watches with high-field strength magnets may cause implanted medical devices to shut off when in close proximity. 

The FDA recommended that patients keep any consumer devices that create magnetic interference at least six inches from implanted medical devices, particularly cardiac defibrillators. 

When near high strength magnets, devices with magnetic safe mode could stop working or change how the device works; for example, a cardiac defibrillator may be unable to detect tachycardia events or may turn on asynchronous mode in a pacemaker. When the device stops working, a patient may become dizzy, lose consciousness and could even die, the agency said. 

To avoid any interferences between cell phones, smart watches and heart devices, the FDA recommends keeping them at least six inches away from any implanted medical devices. The agency said it has conducted its own testing on some products to confirm previous research about the device risks. 

The FDA said the risk of an adverse event to patients is low and it is not aware of any events associated with this issue.


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