From the Heart Rhythm Journal’s “Lifesaving Therapy Inhibition by Phones Containing Magnets” posted last week:
We hereby report an important public health issue concerning the newer-generation iPhone 12, which potentially can inhibit lifesaving therapy in a patient, particularly when the phone is carried in an upper chest pocket.
Dr. Bruce Oran’s take:
I think this could become an issue for Apple, especially given that they are positioning themselves to be players in the health care market. It is estimated that approximately 14.4 million Americans have cardiac arrhythmias. Cardiac Implantable Electronic Devices (CIEDs), including pacemakers and implantable defibrillators, have evolved over the years and have become a significant and effective solution to managing these potentially fatal conditions. The American College of Cardiology estimates that approximately 300,000 CIEDs are now implanted in the U.S. alone per year. When you look at the health-related Apple Watch and iPhones applications, they seem to be focused on cardiac health-EKG, pulse, oxygen saturation, etc. This is the same population that might have cardiac arrhythmias. If this becomes a prevalent problem, Apple will have to reconfigure its devices so as not to interfere with the electromagnetic functioning of the CIEDs. This is not a very large number from a public health perspective, but the public relations impact and fear it could generate could be significant. The first person to die from CIED failure with an iPhone in their left shirt pocket will put Apple (justifiably or not) in a position of having lots of “splainin” to do!
My take: I was distracted by car talk when this story broke. Thanks Bruce for bringing it back up, and for your thoughts.