The source tip for the blog post is StudyFinds, and the research was conducted by scientists with the University of Utah, as reported in the article on https://studyfinds.org/smartwatches-heart-attacks/.
Smartwatches and wearable fitness trackers have become increasingly popular among people who are conscious about their health and fitness. However, a new study by the University of Utah has found that these devices could potentially trigger heart attacks in vulnerable patients, as they can interfere with medical devices such as pacemakers, implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD), and cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) implants.
The study shows that these wearable gadgets, including at-home smart scales and smart rings that utilize a sensing technique called bioimpedance, can emit a small, imperceptible current of electricity into the body, which could interfere with the correct functioning of the CIEDs that were tested. The electrical interference generated by the bioimpedance sensing exceeded Food and Drug Administration-accepted guidelines and interfered with proper CIED functioning.
Lead author Dr. Benjamin Sanchez Terrones, a computer engineer at the University of Utah, says that their work was done in simulations and benchtop testing following the Food and Drug Administration accepted guidelines, which call for future clinical studies evaluating the translation of their findings to patients wearing CIEDs and using these wearable devices. He warns that their study raises a red flag, and their findings call for more studies to evaluate the clinical translation of their findings and ensure the health of patients.
Co-author and cardiac electrophysiologist Prof. Benjamin Steinberg says that if interference confuses the pacemaker, which sends small electrical impulses to the heart when it is beating too slowly, it could stop working during the duration that it is confused. If that interference is for a prolonged time, the patient could pass out or worse. Meanwhile, implantable cardioverter-defibrillators can shock the heart to restore a regular heart rhythm, and a wearable device with bioimpedance could trick the defibrillator into delivering an electric shock, which can be painful.
The study shows that nearly all implantable cardiac devices already warn patients about potential interference with a variety of electronics due to magnetic fields, such as carrying a cell phone in your breast pocket near a pacemaker. However, this is the first time a study has discovered problems associated with a gadget’s bioimpedance sensing technology.
In conclusion, the study by the University of Utah highlights that smartwatches and wearable fitness trackers could trigger heart attacks in vulnerable patients. Further clinical studies are needed to evaluate the clinical translation of the findings and ensure the health of patients. People who use these kinds of wearable devices need to be aware of the potential risks and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves.
We want to extend a big thank you to https://www.emfacts.com/ for bringing our attention to this study on the potential dangers of wearable devices on patients with pacemakers and other cardiac implantable electronic devices. As always, we rely on credible sources to bring the latest news and research to our readers, and we appreciate the important work done by EMFacts to keep us informed.