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Electromagnetic Interference in Implantable Defibrillators in Single-Engine Fixed-Wing Aircraft.


Little is known about the possible electromagnetic interferences (EMI) in the single-engine fixed-wing aircraft environment with implantable cardio-defibrillators (ICDs). Our hypothesis is that EMI in the cockpit of a single-engine fixed-wing aircraft does not result in erroneous detection of arrhythmias and the subsequent delivery of an inappropriate device therapy.ICD devices of four different manufacturers, incorporated in a thorax phantom, were transported in a Piper Dakota Aircraft with ICAO type designator P28B during several flights. The devices under test were programmed to the most sensitive settings for detection of electromagnetic signals from their environment. After the final flight the devices under test were interrogated with the dedicated programmers in order to analyze the number of tachycardias detected.Cumulative registration time of the devices under test was 11,392 min, with a mean of 2848 min per device. The registration from each one of the devices did not show any detectable "tachycardia" or subsequent inappropriate device therapy. This indicates that no external signals, which could be originating from electromagnetic fields from the aircraft's avionics, were detected by the devices under test.During transport in the cockpit of a single-engine fixed-wing aircraft, the tested ICDs did not show any signs of being affected by electromagnetic fields originating from the avionics of the aircraft. This current study indicates that EMI is not a potential safety issue for transportation of passengers with an ICD implanted in a single-engine fixed-wing Rotte AAJ, van der Kemp P, Mundy PA, Rienks R, de Rotte AA. Electromagnetic interference in implantable defibrillators in single-engine fixed-wing aircraft. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2017; 88(1):52-55.