Apple and Microsoft’s electronic gadgets may interfere with heart devices: researchers

Electronic gadgets such as the Apple AirPods Pro Charging Case, 2nd Generation Pencil and Microsoft Surface Pen can interfere with vital heart devices and stop them working, researchers have warned.

Researchers from the University of Basel in Switzerland have claimed that AirPods, “Pencils” and iPhones have strong magnetic fields that could potentially prevent implanted heart devices (ICDs) from working, Daily Mail reported.

According to the team, “any” electrical device containing a magnet could theoretically pose a “danger” to patients who rely on ICDs to get their hearts back into rhythm, according to the report.

“The public should be aware of the potential risks of portable electronic devices,” said Dr Sven Knecht, from the university.

“These devices can cause a problem when carried in your shirt or jacket pocket in front of your chest, as well as when you’re lying on the couch and resting the electronic device on your chest,” a- he added.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, showed that Apple products could not be placed closer than 0.78 inches, or 2 cm, without interfering with ICDs.

But the Microsoft product, which costs 70 pounds, could not be less than 1.1 inches (2.9 cm), according to the report.

The team advised patients with pacemaker-type gadgets not to keep electronic devices in pockets near their chests. According to American Heart Association guidelines, all mobiles should be kept at least 6 inches from pacemakers to minimize risk.

Microsoft, in a statement, recommended that customers “follow previously published guidelines which recommend that the device be kept at least 6 inches (15 cm) away from pacemakers and ICDs.”

In a separate study, researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles found that most Apple Watch users would not experience health benefits from receiving an alert about atrial fibrillation, a type of rhythm irregular heartbeat, the Verge reported.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, showed that only 0.25% of people wearing an Apple Watch would be eligible for blood thinners if they had device-reported atrial fibrillation.

“Most people connecting their devices wouldn’t have recommended blood thinners anyway, even if they turned out to have atrial fibrillation, so it wasn’t going to change any prescriptions,” Josh Pevnick, co-director of the computer science division at Cedars-Sinai was quoted as saying.

“It can cause anxiety in the people it identifies, and if there’s no treatment then you might not be bringing much benefit,” he added.

–IANS

vt/vd