EMF Health-effects Research

Influence of D-net (European GSM -Standard) cellular phones on pacemaker function in 50 patients with permanent pacemakers.

Wilke A, Grimm W, Funck R, Maisch B

Pacing Clin Electrophysiol 19(10):1456-1458, 1996

The widespread use of cellular phones in the last years has prompted some recent studies to suggest an interference of pacemaker function by cellular phone usage. To determine the risk of pacemaker patients using D-net cellular phones, we tested 50 patients with permanent pacemakers after routine pacemaker check by short phone calls using a cellular phone (Ericsson, D-net, frequency 890-915 MHz, digital information coding, equivalent to the European Groupe Systemes Mobiles standard).

A six-channel surface ECG was continuously recorded from each patient to detect any interactions between pacemakers and cellular phones. Phone calls were repeated during the following pacemaker settings: (1) preexisting setting; (2) minimum ventricular rate of 90 beats/min and preexisting sensitivity; and (3) minimum ventricular rate of 90 beats/min and maximum sensitivity without T wave oversensing.

Only 2 (4%) of 50 patients repeatedly showed intermittent pacemaker inhibition during calls with the cellular phone. Both pacemakers had unipolar sensing. Therefore, although interactions between cellular phone use and pacemaker function appear to be rare in our study, pacemaker dependent patients in particular should avoid the use of cellular phones.

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