iphone 12

Possible inhibition of ICD therapies by newer generation iPhone 12

The Heart Rhythm Society recently published information regarding an important public health issue concerning the newer generation iPhone 12 which can potentially inhibit lifesaving therapy in a patient, particularly while carrying the phone in upper pockets.

The article advises; “Contemporary studies have shown minimal risk of electromagnetic interference with Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICD’s) and prior smartphones without magnetic arrays.

“Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICD) have an in-built switch which respond to an externally applied magnetic field. When an external magnet is applied to a defibrillator, high voltage shock therapy for ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation is suspended. It has been estimated that a magnetic field stronger than 10 Gauss is strong enough to activate these switches.

“A recent case report highlighted magnetic interference with a fitness tracker wrist band deactivating an ICD up to distances of 2.4 cm.

“Apple Inc. website does mention magnetic interference with medical devices and prior consulting with physician and medical device manufacturers.”

Image credit: Heart Rhythm Society. Figure 1 – Device Programmer showing suspension of ICD therapies (orange bar, red arrow) with iPhone 12 laying over patient’s chest (green arrow) and Fluoroscopy of iPhone 12 showing the circular magnet array (yellow arrow)

It goes on to to advise:

“Medical device manufacturers and implanting physicians should remain vigilant in making patients aware of this significant interaction of the iPhone 12 and other smart wearables with their cardiac implantable electronic devices.”

Read the full article.