Don’t Bring Your iPhone 12 Near a Cardiac Device

Cardiologists at Henry Ford discovered an accessory's magnet can deactivate implanted defibrillators.

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Each year, 300,000 people in the United States undergo surgery to implant a cardiac device, and roughly one in four cell phones sold last year awas an iPhone 12. So what, right? Well in the intersection of that Venn diagram is a danger zone. A recent NBC25News article discussed an alarming discovery at the Henry Ford Heart & Vascular Institute that could be fatal.

When Dr. Singh, an expert in cardiac electrophysiology, learned the iPhone 12’s MagSafe accessory contains a strong magnet, he suspected it could inadvertently deactivate implanted cardiac devices. Out of convenience, these devices have switches that respond to external magnets; they can turn defibrillators off, and make pacemakers deliver strong electrical impulses that could cause ventricular fibrillation. 

To test his suspicion, Dr. Singh brought an iPhone with MagSafe to a patient’s chest, and to his amazement, it deactivated the defibrillator in the patient’s chest. When he removed the phone, the defibrillator returned to normal function. 

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