Clemens Jilek, MD; Stylianos Tzeis, MD, PhD; Hrvoje Vrazic, MD, PhD; Verena Semmler, MD; Georgios Andrikopoulos, MD, PhD; Tilko Reents, MD; Stephanie Fichtner, MD; Sonia Ammar, MD; Ioannis Rassias, MD; Georgios Theodorakis, MD, PhD; Stefan Weber, MD, PhD; Gabriele Hessling, MD, PhD; Isabel Deisenhofer, MD, PhD; Christof Kolb, MD, PhD
Case reports suggest that the hand-held metal detectors used for security screening generate electromagnetic fields that may interfere with pacemaker and implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) function.
To assess changes in function of pacemakers and ICDs after exposure to hand-held metal detectors.
Two medical centers in Europe.
388 patients (209 with pacemakers and 179 with ICDs) presenting for routine follow-up of device function between September 2009 and December 2010.
Abnormalities on electrocardiography suggestive of rhythm device malfunction (pacing inhibition, loss of capture, inappropriate mode switch, ventricular oversensing, and spontaneous reprogramming) after 30 seconds of exposure to 2 widely used hand-held metal detectors with a maximal electromagnetic flux density of 6.3 µT.
No change in device function, including pacing or sensing abnormalities or device reprogramming, was observed in any patient.
The study included a convenience sample of patients, and the number of different device models tested was small. Testing was conducted in 2 clinic settings.
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, but these findings require confirmation.
Jilek C, Tzeis S, Vrazic H, et al. Safety of Screening Procedures With Hand-Held Metal Detectors Among Patients With Implanted Cardiac Rhythm Devices: A Cross-sectional Analysis. Ann Intern Med. 2011;155:587–592. doi: https://doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-155-9-201111010-00005
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2011;155(9):587-592.
Cardiology, Hospital Medicine, Prevention/Screening, Rhythm Disorders and Devices.
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