News | Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) | January 08, 2021

iPhone 12 May Cause Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators to Malfunction

Study shows new iPhone 12 magnet array can cause ICDs to become inoperable and concerns raised about wearable fitness trackers as well

A device programmer showing the suspension of ICD therapies (orange bar, red arrow) with iPhone 12 laying over patient’s chest (green arrow) and fluoroscopy of iPhone 12 showing the circular magnet array (yellow arrow). iPhone 12 can cause ICDs to stop working

A device programmer showing the suspension of ICD therapies (orange bar, red arrow) with iPhone 12 laying over patient’s chest (green arrow) and fluoroscopy of iPhone 12 showing the circular magnet array (yellow arrow). Read the full study

January 8, 2020 — A new study published this week in HeartRhythm, the journal of the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS), found evidence that Apple's new iPhone 12 might cause implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) to become inoperable if placed are near the implanted device.[1] This small study was undertaken at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit because the new magnet array used by the popular mobile device is different from previous generations of cell phones and may pose issues if it is near a patients ICD. 

Lead author Joshua C. Greenberg, M.D., section of cardiac electrophysiology, Henry Ford Heart and Vascular Institute, raised the concerns for possible device-device interaction due to presence of a strong magnetic array in the iPhone and MagSafe compatible cases. This study tested for interaction on a patient with a Medtronic ICD. Researchers found once the iPhone was brought close to the ICD over the left chest area, there was an immediate suspension of ICD therapies, which persisted for the duration of the test. This was reproduced multiple times with different positions of the phone over the ICD pocket.

An ICD system contains a battery, capacitors, sensing/ pacing circuit together with an intra-or extra-cardiac lead. All ICD’s have a in-built switch (Reed switch, Hall-effect sensors, Giant magneto sensitive resistors or coils) which responds to an externally applied magnetic field. When an external magnet is applied to a defibrillator, high voltage shock therapy for ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation is suspended. It has been estimated that a magnetic field stronger than 10 Gauss is strong enough to activate these switches.

Recently, Apple Inc. launched the new iPhone 12 series, which has a circular array of magnets around a central charging coil for the phone to be compatible with MagSafe accessories. MagSafe technology contains a magnetometer and single coil near field communications (NFC) reader. The magnets aids in properly aligning the iPhone on a wireless charger and other peripheral accessories and increases wireless charging speeds. 

The study authors note that contemporary studies have shown minimal risk of electromagnetic interference with ICDs and prior smartphones without magnetic arrays. But a recent case report highlighted magnetic interference with a fitness tracker wrist band deactivating an ICD up to distances of 2.4 cm.[2] 

The Apple website does mention magnetic interference with medical devices and prior consulting with physician and medical device manufacturers. 

The researchers said medical device manufacturers and implanting physicians should remain vigilant in making patients aware of this significant interaction of the iPhone 12 and other smart wearables with their cardiac implantable electronic devices.

Find more electrophysiology news and video 

 

Reference:

1. Joshua C. Greenberg, Mahmoud R. Altawil, Gurjit Singh. Life Saving Therapy Inhibition by Phones Containing Magnets. HeartRhythm. Published January 4, 2021. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2020.12.032.

 

Related Content

News | Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Devices (CRT) | March 03, 2021
March 3, 2021 — Medtronic announced new results from the landmark...
Left bundle branch (LBBP) activation imaging shown using wall motion color codes on echo imaging from Canon. #HRS2020 #heartrhythm2020

Left bundle branch (LBBP) activation imaging shown using wall motion color codes on dyamic echo imaging from Canon. 

News | Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Devices (CRT) | May 13, 2020
May 13, 2020 —...
Valentina Kutyifa, M.D., Ph.D., University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, N.Y., is doing research in the BIO-LIBRA Study to determine it ICD or CRT-D devices work better in men or women with heart failure often present with non-ischemic cardiomyopathy.

Valentina Kutyifa, M.D., Ph.D., University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, N.Y., is doing research in the BIO-LIBRA Study to determine it ICD or CRT-D devices work better in men or women with heart failure often present with non-ischemic cardiomyopathy.

Feature | Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Devices (CRT) | March 09, 2020 | Valentina Kutyifa M.D., Ph.D.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for women in North America, and women with...
His Corrective Pacing Effective as an Initial Strategy for Heart Failure Cardiac Resynchronization CRT therapy vs. biventricular pacing (BiV) as a first-line strategy. #HRS #HRS19 #HRS2019
News | Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Devices (CRT) | May 15, 2019 | Dave Fornell, Editor
May 15, 2019 — A pilot trial has shown His pacing in...
Biotronik Launches Acticor DX and CRT-DX Devices in U.S.
News | Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Devices (CRT) | April 29, 2019
Biotronik announced the full commercial launch of the Acticor device family, including Acticor DX and CRT-DX devices....
Biotronik Launches Acticor and Rivacor ICD and CRT-D Devices in Europe
News | Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Devices (CRT) | April 18, 2019
Biotronik announced the European market release of what it calls the world’s smallest implantable cardioverter...
Medtronic AdaptivCRT Feature Associated with Improved Heart Failure Patient Survival
News | Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Devices (CRT) | May 22, 2018
Medtronic plc announced study results showing its AdaptivCRT algorithm is associated with improved patient survival....
Medtronic Recalls CRT-Ds and ICDs Due to Manufacturing Error Preventing Electrical Shock Delivery
News | Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Devices (CRT) | February 26, 2018
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that Medtronic is recalling certain implantable cardioverter...
Abbott Announces MR-Conditional Labeling for Quadra Assura CRT-D and Fortify Assura ICD
Technology | Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Devices (CRT) | January 03, 2018
Abbott announced U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for magnetic resonance (MR)-conditional labeling for...