Implanted heart device? Beware of newer smartphones and wearables
People who have an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) or pacemaker should avoid the iPhone 12 as well as wearable tech products, such as the Fitbit and Apple Watch, that use magnetic chargers, two reports say, as these gadgets can interfere with implanted cardiac devices, possibly rendering them useless.
A 55-year-old woman wearing an Apple Watch while sleeping was awakened by several beeps from her ICD. A next-day check showed the watch’s magnet had deactivated her device, as noted Dec. 12, 2020, in HeartRhythm Case Reports. In the Jan. 4, 2021, HeartRhythm, doctors described how bringing an iPhone 12 near the chest of a person with an ICD immediately disabled the device.
Such problems aren’t apparent with earlier phones and products without magnets. But to be on the safe side, don’t put your smartphone in a shirt pocket, and hold the phone to the ear opposite the side of your pacemaker or ICD when making calls.
You could also ask your cardiologist to test your smartphone to make sure it doesn’t interact with your implanted device.