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Heart Stopping News: Science Fair Project Shows iPad Magnets Can Shut Down Pacemakers

Heart Stopping News: Science Fair Project Shows iPad Magnets Can Shut Down Pacemakers

Pacemaker patients! Do you use your iPad, and then doze off with the iPad on your chest? YOU COULD BE COMMITTING SUICIDE! There, was that scary enough? But seriously, a science fair project by a 14 year old has discovered that the tiny magnets inside the iPad can shut down implanted defibrillators if the device is left lying on a pacemaker user’s chest.



Apple builds magnets into every iPad it sells for use with its Smart Cover accessory.

Gianna Chien made the discovery as part of a science fair project that didn’t win first place, but she will be presenting her findings to 8,000 doctors at a meeting of the Heart Rhythm Society in Denver, reports Bloomberg.

John Day, head of heart-rhythm services at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah says the research offers a valuable warning for people with implanted defibrillators. The devices deliver an electric shock to restart a stopped heart.

If a person falls asleep with the iPad 2 on the chest, the magnets in the cover can “accidentally turn off” the heart device, said Chien, a high school freshman in Stockton, California, whose father is a doctor. “I definitely think people should be aware. That’s why I’m presenting the study.”

Implanted defibrillators can be turned off by magnets as an added safety measure. The magnets in the iPad are too small to affect implanted defibrillators in normal use but the device can affect them if it is held close enough to the users chest.

Chien found that 30% of patients with defibrillators who put iPads on their chest were affected by the device. While most defibrillators will turn themselves back on after the magnet is removed, some need to be reactivated manually.

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