Hand-Held Metal Detectors Safe With Implanted Devices

Exposure to hand-held metal detectors doesn't impact functioning of pacemakers, ICDs

TUESDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to hand-held metal detectors does not affect the function of pacemakers or implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), according to a study published in the Nov. 1 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

Clemens Jilek, M.D., from the Technische Universität München in Germany, and colleagues evaluated changes in the function of pacemakers and ICDs after exposure to hand-held metal detectors. A convenience sample of 388 patients, including 209 with pacemakers and 179 with ICDs, presenting for routine follow-up of device function were selected between September 2009 and December 2010. Electrocardiography abnormalities indicative of rhythm device malfunction, including pacing inhibition, loss of capture, inappropriate mode switch, ventricular oversensing, and spontaneous reprogramming, were examined following 30 seconds of exposure to two widely used hand-held metal detectors with maximal electromagnetic flux density of 6.3 µT.

The investigators found that none of the patients experienced a change in device function, including pacing or sensing abnormalities, or device reprogramming.

"Hand-held metal detectors did not affect the function of pacemakers or ICDs in this sample. The use of hand-held metal detectors for security screening is probably safe for patients with pacemakers and ICDs," the authors write.

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