The iPhone 12 has been making headlines! Although, not the ways you think as their new feature may affect your Implanted Heart Device. Medical researchers at Henry Ford have warned that the magnet feature in the new iPhones could interfere with life-saving implanted heart devices.
Here’s what Dr. Nazeri wants you to know!
How Do Magnets Impact an Implanted Heart Device?
Implantable pacemakers and cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) all contain a magnetic-activated switch found on the surface of each device. When a strong enough magnet is held closely to an implanted device with this switch, it can switch off and change the settings.
These magnetic switches are beneficial in therapeutic settings when doctors change the ICD’s settings in a pacemaker. The problem arises when a magnet interferes with the implanted device, in an uncontrolled medical environment, without a cardiac professional. These magnets can change pace rhythm, stop electrical pulses altogether, or activate the shock delivery function – all of which can result in medical emergencies and life-threatening situations.
Dr. Alireza Nazeri recommends keeping all magnets a safe distance away from your pacemaker or implanted defibrillator, but what happens when your phone is magnetized?
iPhone 12 and MagSafe
In October 2020, Apple released the new generation iPhone 12, with a new exciting feature – MagSafe.
MagSafe is a magnetized technology created to aid in better wireless iPhone charging and the attachment of magnetized accessories. Magnetized cases, wallets, and phone mounts are now available for your phone, all powered by a strong magnet in the back of the phone.
The location and strength of the magnet have become a source of concern for cardiologists. Education about magnet avoidance is standard for patients with implanted devices, but this new technology offers increased exposure risks.
While Apple has released a statement claiming that the MagSafe feature does not offer any additional risks for people with pacemakers than any previous iPhone generation, we have some safety recommendations to reduce the risk of magnet interference.
❌ Do not keep your iPhone 12 in your front chest pocket of a shirt or jacket on the side of your implanted heart device
- This convenient location to store your phone is too close to your device. Use your pant pockets, a waist holster, or a bag to carry your iPhone 12 in order to reduce close contact.
✅ Keep your iPhone at least 6 inches (15 cm) away from your implanted device
- The 6 inches (15 cm) distance from your device is a way to ensure that no possible interference can occur. If you are charging your device using MagSafe, we recommend an even further distance of 12 inches (30 cm).
🩺 Consult with your cardiologist for more guidelines for MagSafe and your pacemaker
- When in doubt, seek out professional opinions and guidelines from your cardiologist or device manufacturer.
About Dr. Nazeri
Dr. Nazeri is an experienced cardiac electrophysiologist at Mobitz Heart and Rhythm Center. For more information about implanted devices and cardiac rhythms, please visit our website at www.MobitzHeart.com