Mobiles can have irreversible effects on people with pacemakers

By Rahul Ramesh

Mobiles can have irreversible effects on people with pacemakers


People with pacemakers  implanted in their hearts have to be alert about keeping their cellphones in their shirt pockets. A release issued by the Department Of Telecommunications in India says that people who have medical implants must never keep mobile phones in their shirt pockets as the mobile phone signals can be potentially damaging to the pacemakers.

Even Doctors echo the same warnings. Dr Aparna Jaswal one of the senior cardiologists at the Escorts Heart Research Center said that mobile phone usage is safe for patients with heart implants but the place where they keep their mobile phones after usage needs to be a safe one. She also says that when heart patients and people with pacemakers keep their cellphones in their shirt pockets, the pacemakers could interpret the cellphone signal as a heart beat and this in turn can be potentially damaging for the heart.

Dr Jaswal also stated that people with pacemakers in their hearts need to keep the cellphone at least six feet away from the pacemaker and must use the phone through the ear that is not near to the pacemaker area.

According to scientists, a cellphone's radio frequency energy can communicate with the pacemakers and generate EMI(electromagnetic interference) and this in turn could lead to the pacemaker stopping the simulating pulses which regulate the heart rhythm. This could also cause the pacemaker to deliver the pulses irregularly and can cause the pacemaker to ignore the heart's rhythm.

Taking note of all these, the Government Of India has plans to make displaying medical warnings on cellphone literature mandatory for all mobile handset manufacturers. Sachin Pilot, Minister of state for communications and I.T. said that necessary guidelines and instructions along with implementation will be in place throughout the country by September 1 this year.

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