I was wondering if mobile phone can negatively effect pacemakers.

Most websites recommend reduced phone usage, but I can't find any research that explains how they can interfere with pacemakers. Can you point me to any serious references about this subject ?

  • Have a look at some of these posts for a general information but we do not answer personal medical questions: 1, 2. These posts are not really about pacemaker function though, but may be helpful.
    Mar 1, 2016 at 16:52

1 Answer 1


Phones can interfere with pacemakers, but usually the effects are rare and can be avoided.

Dr. Carsten Lennerz, study lead author and cardiology resident in the Clinic for Heart and Circulatory Diseases at Munich’s German Heart Centre, said that pacemakers in rare instances can mistakenly detect electromagnetic interference from mobile phones. The devices can then interpret the interference as a cardiac signal, causing them to briefly stop working. This can sometimes result in the patient fainting.

Radiofrequency energy (RF) from cell phones can interact with some electronic devices. This type of interference is called electromagnetic interference (EMI). For this reason, FDA helped develop a detailed test method to measure EMI of implanted cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators from cell phones. This test method is now part of a standard sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI). This standard will allow manufacturers to ensure that cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators are safe from cell phone EMI.

If EMI were to occur it could cauae:

Stopping the pacemaker from delivering the stimulating pulses that regulate the heart's rhythm Causing the pacemaker to deliver the pulses irregularly Causing the pacemaker to ignore the heart's own rhythm and deliver pulses at a fixed rate


But based on current research, cell phones would not seem to pose a significant health problem for the vast majority of pacemaker wearers. Still, people with pacemakers may want to take some simple precautions to be sure that their cell phones don't cause a problem.

This study just says that phones effect pacemakers, but once you take the phone away the pacemaker is fine once again.

Phones available in the US(less than 3 watts) don't appear to affect pacemaker function. However, new phones using new frequencies may make pacemakers unreliable.

Of important note, the pacemaker interference by the cellular phones was only found to be significant when the phones were held over the pacemakers-not when placed in the normal listening position over the ear.

  • Also telling is the large number of hospitals that once banned cell phone usage and now don't bother.
    – Carey Gregory
    Apr 30, 2016 at 15:29

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