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June 18, 1973

Cardiac Pulse Generators and Electromagnetic Interference

Author Affiliations

From the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine, Brooks Air Force Base, TX.

JAMA. 1973;224(12):1628-1631. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220260044009

Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) in the environment is a source of potential danger to a patient dependent on a cardiac pulse generator. We exposed a variety of demand pulse generators to a wide range of EMR. Reversion to "fixed rate" and occasionally complete cutoff was observed in several devices at power densities approximating those reported in one large metropolitan area. Practical techniques exist for producing pulse generators that are compatible with today's EMR environment, and steps must be taken by pulse generator manufacturers to reduce the sensitivity of their units.