iPad May Alter Programmable Shunt Valve Settings

Settings changed in 58 percent of valves exposed to tablet with cover at distance less than 1 cm

WEDNESDAY, June 27 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to a tablet device may result in a change to programmable shunt valve settings when the tablet is very close to the valve, according to a study published online June 26 in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics.

Jennifer Strahle, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues investigated the effect of a tablet computer on performance-level settings of a programmable shunt valve. Programmable valves were exposed to a tablet device with a cover 100 times at five different distances (less than 1 cm; 1 to 2.5 cm; 2.5 to 5 cm; 5 to 10 cm; and more than 10 cm). The tablet without the cover was also tested 30 times at distances of less than 1 cm.

The researchers found that the maximum recorded magnetic flux density of the tablet with and without the cover was 17.0 mT and 7.6 mT, respectively. Following exposure to the tablet with a cover, different settings were seen for 58 percent of valves at distances of less than 1 cm and in 5 percent of valves at distances greater than 1 cm but less than 2.5 cm. For distances greater than 2.5 cm but less than 5 cm, only one setting change was recorded, and no changes were seen at distances greater than 5 cm. For the tablet without a cover, 67 percent of the 30 valve exposures at distances less than 1 cm resulted in a performance-level change.

"We found that exposure to iPad 2 devices may alter programmable shunt valve settings," the authors write. "We acknowledge the likelihood that at least some of the changes in performance level that were observed would not have resulted in a clinically relevant change for a patient."

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