An abstract presented this weekend at the AHA meeting (abstract) found that 23% of pacer and defibrillator devices dysfunctioned when placed in close proximity (<2cm) to ipod headphones. Those headphones with higher magnetic strength were more likely to cause a problem (EM strength in the headphones tested varied from 0-20 gauss, listed by brand in the abstract). They found no device dysfunction with headphones >3cm away from the device. The authors recommend keeping ipod headphones at least 3cm away from these devices, which given this study, seems like a very reasonable suggestion.
Dr. Scheurer is a clinical hospitalist and the Medical Director of Quality and Safety at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina, and is Assistant Professor of Medicine. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, completed her residency at Duke University, and completed her Masters in Clinical Research at the Medical University of South Carolina. She also serves as the Web Editor and Physician Advisor for the Society of Hospital Medicine.