A fascinating report by Bloomberg from the Heart Rhythm Society meeting that’s taking place in Denver:
“If a person falls asleep with the iPad2 on the chest, the magnets in the cover can “accidentally turn off” the heart device… …Defibrillators, as a safety precaution, are designed to be turned off by magnets… …While the iPad2 magnets aren’t powerful enough to cause problems when a person is holding the tablet out in front of the chest, it can be risky to rest it against the body… …The study involving 26 volunteers with defibrillators found “magnet mode” was triggered in 30 percent of patients who put the tablet on their chest. The iPad2 didn’t interfere with four pacemakers or a loop-recorder, which were also tested. Walter Chien, a cardiac electrophysiologist, helped his daughter coordinate the patient testing… …MAGNET SWITCH Most defibrillators will turn back on once the magnet is no longer affecting the device. Some, however, remain off until the magnet is reapplied or the device is turned back on manually, the younger Chien said. Patients should be told about the risk and doctors should check the devices to see if they have been inadvertently turned off by magnets, she said… …I don’t think anyone really knows about the risks,” Chien said”
I hope Gienna’s father (Cardiac Electrophysiologist Walter Chien) or the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth hurries up and buys this talented youngster an Alivecor ECG case (get yours here) as it would be nice to see as a follow on to this “iPad Risk” paper another paper discussing how the iPad/iPhone when twinned with a low cost Alivecor ECG device can help eliminate the risks associated with the relatively common battery and connection failures associated with implanted medical devices.
At HRS 2014 in San Francisco I hope the Heart Rhythm Society will have the 15 year old back on stage with another paper on the iPad/iPhone opportunity eg. showing how by simply adding an Alivecor ECG device and providing community based carers with a small diagnostic magnet you can quickly check the on/off status of a device, remaining battery level, etc.