A European study says that security screening with hand-held metal detectors is most likely safe
for people with pacemakers and implantable defibrillators. These devices help the heart beat regularly.
There have been reports about magnetic fields produced by metal detectors interfering with the function
of these devices.
During the study, researchers swiped two metal dectectors that were set to the strongest setting each for
30seconds on patients with pacemakers made by 11 different companies and implantable defibrillators
made by 7 different companies. An electrocardiogram ensured
whether the heart rate was normal.
They also checked if there were problems with the programing of the devices. While carrying out this experiment
on 388 subjects the reseachers did not note anything unusual.
Study author Clemens Jilek of the German Heart Center Munich said, "With the wide variety of rhythm devices
we tested, we have not seen any interference
between two hand-held metal detectors that are broadly available worldwide.
Our conclusion would be that screening procedures with a normal, available hand-held metal detector are safe."
At the same time Jilek and his colleagues have cautioned that the findings do not definitively prove that
the metal detectors are safe to use with all heart devices.
The study has been published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.