↑ Return to Health

ADA MEDICAL INFORMATION: ELECTROMAGNETIC INTERFERENCE ON IMPLANTS compiled by Eve Woodward-Shawl

ADA MEDICAL INFORMATION:  ELECTROMAGNETIC INTERFERENCE ON IMPLANTS

compiled by Eve Woodward-Shawl

         People who have medical implants, particularly metal implants, are more sensitive to spurious RF exposures for two reasons; Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) with critical care medical equipment and medical implants is a potentially serious threat. Patients with deep-brain stimulators (Parkinson’s disease patients) have reported adverse health effects due to RF from various environmental sources like security gates and RFID scanners.          Patients with deep brain stimulators have reported the devices to be reprogramming or electrodes shut-down as a result of encounters with wireless RFID scanners. One manufacturer, Medtronics, has issued a warning for DBS implant patients to limit RF exposure to less than 0.1 W/Kg SAR (or sixteen times lower than for the general public) for MRI exposures.

The IEEE SC4 committee (2001) considered changes to existing ANSI/IEEE standards adopted in 1992 (C95.1-1992). They discussed vulnerable organs (eyes, testes) and metallic implants that can intensify localized RF exposures within the body and its tissues. “Question 20: Are there specific tissues or points within the body that have particularly high susceptibilities to local heating due to thermal properties in the immediate vicinity of the tissue?”

Metallic implants are an interesting example of this question. There can be very localized high field concentrations around the tips of long metal structures, in the gaps of wire loops. Of course, these metal devices don’t create energy, but can only redistribute it, so the effect is limited to some extent. Also the high thermal conductivity and specific heat capacity make them good thermal sinks for any localized heat sources generated around them.”

Since deep brain stimulators in Parkinson’s patients involve metal implants that are essentially long metal structures with tips that interface with brain tissue and nerves within the brain and body, exposing such patients with implants to high levels of pulsed RF that can produce localized, high RF within the body is certainly inadvisable. It is clear the IEEE SC4 committee recognized the potential risk by to calling such implanted metallic devices good ‘thermal sinks’ for localized heating dissipation.