The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning that strong magnets in some cellphones and smartwatches can interfere with pacemakers and other implanted medical devices.
Studies have shown that these high-strength magnets may cause some implants to switch to "magnet mode," stopping normal functioning until the magnet is moved away from the device.
Many implants have a "magnet mode" so they can be safely operated during medical procedures, such as MRI scans. Doctors typically activate these features by placing a high-strength magnet near the implant. Removing the magnetic field restores normal operation of the medical device.
The FDA said patients with implanted medical devices should take these precautions:
Implanted devices are designed to aid heart rhythm disorders, such as fast or slow heart rates. If the device stops working, a patient could get dizzy, lose consciousness or even die, the FDA warned in an agency news release.
The FDA conducted its own testing on some products that use the high field strength magnet feature and said that it considers the risk to patients low. The agency said it is not aware of any adverse events associated with this issue at this time.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about the safety of implanted medical devices.
SOURCE: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, news release, May 13, 2021