Can magnets in dermatoscopes pose a safety risk to patients with cardiovascular implanted electronic devices?
In this cross-sectional study of 3 different dermatoscope models, the magnetic field measured directly above the magnets in each device was stronger than the manufacturer-recommended 5 gauss to 10 gauss threshold. However, the gauss readings at the faceplate of these devices were either substantially low or below the 5-gauss safety threshold.
In real life, dermatoscope magnets likely present no measurable adverse outcomes in patients with cardiovascular implanted electronic devices.
Cardiovascular implanted electronic devices (CIEDs) are susceptible to electromagnetic interference. Dermatologists regularly use devices containing magnets, including dermatoscopes and their attachments, which could pose a hazard to patients with CIEDs.
To investigate the safety risk of magnets in dermatoscopes to patients with CIEDs.
Design, Setting, and Participants
This cross-sectional observational study was conducted between January 1, 2018, and March 31, 2018, in a controlled laboratory setting. Two experiments were performed. In the first experiment (performed in the Dermatology Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York), dermatoscopes that contain magnets were obtained from 3 manufacturers. Using a magnometer, the magnetic field strength of the dermatoscopes was measured over the magnet; at the faceplate; and at a distance of 0.5 cm, 1 cm and 15 cm away from the faceplate. In the second experiment (performed in the University Heart Center Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland), ex vivo measurements were conducted to determine how the dermatoscopes affected old-generation and new generation CIEDs (pacemakers and implantable defibrillators).
Main Outcomes and Measures
Magnetic field strength as measured directly over the dermatoscope magnet; at the faceplate; and at distances of 0.5 cm, 1 cm, and 15 cm from the faceplate. Pacemaker and defibrillator operation when exposed to dermatoscopes.
After conducting 24 measurements, the magnetic field (measured in gauss [G]) strength varied between 24.26 G and 163.04 G over the dermatoscope magnet, between 2.22 G and 9.98 G at the dermatoscope faceplate, between 0.82 G and 2.4 G at a distance of 0.5 cm, and between 0.5 G and 1.04 G at a distance of 1 cm; it was 0 for all devices at a 15 cm distance. The field strength at the faceplate was found to be generally below the CIED industry standard safety threshold. None of the dermatoscopes in the ex vivo experiment exerted any demonstrable disruptions or changes to the CIEDs.
Conclusions and Relevance
In real life, dermatoscope magnets likely present no measurable safety risk to patients with CIEDs. Using the polarized noncontact mode permits dermoscopy to be performed at least 0.5 cm from the skin surface, where the magnetic field strength was well below the 5-G safety threshold.
Rishpon A, Braun R, Weinstock MA, et al. Assessment of the Safety Risk of Dermatoscope Magnets in Patients With Cardiovascular Implanted Electronic Devices. JAMA Dermatol. 2018;154(10):1204–1207. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2018.2531
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