Could the iPad interfere with pacemakers?
Magnets in the iPad2 and its cover could interfere with heart implants, including pacemakers, according to a report presented at the Heart Rhythm Society's annual conference. The tablets, said the study’s authors, could change the settings or even deactivate implantable cardioverter defribillators – or ICDs.
This study looked at 26 volunteers with heart implants who were asked to hold their iPads at a reading distance and later to hold the tablet against their chests. The results showed that the magnets in the devices could undermine an ICD's ability to stabilize sudden rapid heart rates. Of the study participants, 30 percent had some interference when the iPad2 was placed up against their chests. This could be most problematic for people with implants who fall asleep with the computer on their chests.
The study also found that other devices with imbedded magnets, including cell phones and MRI technology, could also impact cardiac rhythm devices.
One of the more intriguing aspects of the study is that it was led by a 14-year-old California high school student who worked with her father, a cardiologist.