FDA: iPods unlikely to interfere with pacemakers

Contrary to a study presented last May, a new U.S. Food and Drug Administration study shows that iPods, and other portable media players, are unlikely to cause cardiac implantable pacemakers to malfunction.

FDA researcher Howard Bassen and colleagues tested a variety of iPods, and found they did not produce enough of an electromagnetic field to interfere with installed pacemakers. The researchers used a saline-filled bag to simulate the human body, a coil sensor to pick up electromagnetic emissions, and tested four different iPod models: both a fourth- and fifth-generation iPod, an iPod nano, and an iPod shuffle.

“We measured magnetic field emissions with a 3-coil sensor placed within 1 cm (half an inch) of the surface of the player. Highly localized fields were observed (only existing in a one square cm area),” the researchers wrote in a report published in the journal BioMedical Engineering OnLine.