The BHF responds to new study which finds Pacemakers may react to electrical appliances

28 February 2017        

Category: BHF Comment

Pacemaker closeup

A new American study has found that, when used in very close proximity to the body, everyday household appliances and electrical tools can interfere with a pacemaker’s ability to regulate heartbeats. 

Published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation, the study looked specifically at how close a person with a pacemaker needs to be before the electric and magnetic fields (EMF) begins to interfere with pacemakers, and to what degree. They tested the impact of EMF exposure on 119 patients with pacemakers under various conditions, starting with common everyday exposure and working up the EMF intensity until the researchers noted a pacemaker sensing failure.

What we said:

Our Associate Medical Director, Dr Mike Knapton, said: “When you have a pacemaker or ICD implanted, you will be given important information about your device and how to reduce the risk of interference with its function. 

“This study found that some household appliances and electrical tools interfered with pacemakers when they were held close to the patient’s chest but this interference was reduced when the pacemaker was adjusted to less sensitive settings.

“Whilst most things shouldn’t affect how your pacemaker or ICD works, you should be cautious and keep anything with a magnetic field and certain electrical equipment, at least six inches away from your device. 

“If you have any concerns, you should speak with your doctor, pacing clinic or call our Heart Helpline.”