The Apple iPhone 12 features a strong magnet that aims to maximize charging capacity. But this same feature became a point of concern for the cardiologists.

Dr. Saumil Shah and Dr. Guru Mohanty, cardiac electrophysiology experts, specialize in rhythm and electrical disorders. This includes understanding irregularities on implantable defibrillators and pacemakers. In the United States alone, more than 300,000 people get implants of these devices each year. 

Relationship of Cardiovascular Devices to Magnets 

Generally, these cardiac devices respond to magnets, and this could alter how the equipment functions. For a defibrillator, it could temporarily shut down its ability to deliver a shock when a magnet gets close to it. For the case of pacemakers, magnets could cause electrical impulses, resulting in the heart being out of sync. Either way, if unrecognized this could pose a serious risk to the patient.

According to experts, you simply can’t perform a surgery every time the doctors need to control the device. That’s why magnets are necessary. With this, the doctors can control the equipment externally to temporarily modify its function.  Because of this fact, cardiologists have begun to wonder if the magnet from iPhone 12 could affect defibrillators and pacemakers. 

Surprising Effects of iPhone 12 to Defibrillator 

To test suspicions, a study was conducted with an iPhone 12 placed over a patient’s chest with an implantable defibrillator. When they did so, the device was deactivated. The external defibrillator programmer showed that the functions of the device were suspended and remained suspended. On the other hand, when the iPhone 12 was removed from the chest, the device started to work normally. 

Apple’s Public Announcement 

The publication called the attention of the FDA, Association of the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation and even Apple. From here, the tech giant published a notice last January 23. This was seen on their website. According to Apple, iPhones contain magnets and components that emit electromagnetic fields. And these could interfere with medical devices. In addition, it was mentioned that iPhone 12 has more magnets than its predecessors. However, these are not expected to pose a greater risk of magnetic interference. They reminded their users to ensure that their iPhones and MagSafe accessories should be at least 6 inches away from their cardiovascular device. They were even encouraged to consult with their physicians for more specific instructions. Considering the number of patients using defibrillators and pacemakers, plus the increasing volume of iPhone users, this should be taken seriously. There could be many patients who might unknowingly place their phones on their shirt pockets. And that could pose a significant threat.  

For more information or concerns about your iPhone 12 device or magnetic devices, contact Dr. Saumil Shah and Dr. Guru Mohanty at Virginia Arrhythmia Consultants. 

Reference: https://www.henryford.com/news/2021/02/iphone-12-deactivates-defibrillator

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