Can base stations affect implantable devices, such as cardiac pacemakers?


The prevailing U.S. standard for the RF immunity of medical devices is the 2007 revision of the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) Standard 60601-1-2, which mirrors the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Standard 601-1-2.  Formally recognizing this standard, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that it “will allow manufacturers to ensure that cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators are safe from cell phone EMI [electromagnetic interference].”

Medtronics, one of the principal manufacturers of pacemakers, provided this RF immunity information in 2009 for its devices, and other manufacturers should have incorporated similar resilience into their own products:

 “Medtronic pacemakers/defibrillators are designed to operate normally in electric fields measuring 100 volts per meter” (V/m) and “to operate normally within RF levels that meet the government Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE) limits” for electric fields at “150 kHz and up,” including “[s]ources such as: radio transmitter antennas, television transmitter antennas, cellular telephone antennas, RF welding equipment, dielectric heaters, radar.”