USA – FDA cautions cell phones, smart watches may trigger magnet mode in implanted devices

High field strength magnets in some consumer electronic devices may trigger “magnet mode” in certain implanted medical devices such as pacemakers and cardiac defibrillators, the US Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday.

Many implanted electronic medical devices feature a magnet mode to allow the safe operation of the device during medical procedures such as an MRI scan. While in magnet mode normal device operations are suspended and the mode is typically engaged by placing a high field strength magnet near the implanted device.

FDA said it has reviewed recent scientific literature that describes the possibility of newer cell phones and smart watches, including Apple’s iPhone 12, affecting the normal operation of implanted medical devices. The agency said its own testing confirmed the magnetic field from certain consumer electronic devices “is both consistent with the publications and strong enough to turn on the magnetic safety mode of the medical devices in question.”…