SAN FRANCISCO — Body scanners at security checkpoints at airports did not interfere with the functionality of cardiac implantable devices including conventional pacemakers, implantable cardioverter defibrillators, subcutaneous ICDs and leadless pacemakers, according to data presented at Heart Rhythm Society Annual Scientific Sessions.
“The implanted devices were not detected as suspicious objects, so consequently passengers do not need to identify themselves as device recipients,” Carsten Lennerz, MD, resident at the German Heart Centre in Munich, told Cardiology Today. “Currently no restrictions or special scan procedures for passengers with devices at security checkpoints are necessary.”
Researchers analyzed data from 375 patients with ICDs (n = 175), subcutaneous ICDs (n = 52), pacemakers (n = 127) and leadless pacemakers (n = 21).
The sensitivity levels of all devices were not altered to assist in electromagnetic interference detection. In addition, permanent ventricular pacing was ensured and ICD shock therapy was disabled.
All patients underwent at least three body scans in close proximity to and at the recommended distance from the scanner while under constant ECG surveillance. Cardiac ICDs were also interrogated for events related to electromagnetic interference.
The primary endpoint for the study was events related to electromagnetic interference including upper rate tracking, pacing inhibition, spontaneous reprogramming and tachycardiac detection. The secondary endpoint was the detection of cardiac ICDs by the body scanner.
Body scanners at security checkpoints at airports did not interfere with the functionality of cardiac implantable devices including conventional pacemakers, implantable cardioverter defibrillators, subcutaneous ICDs and leadless pacemakers, according to data presented at Heart Rhythm Society Annual Scientific Sessions.
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There were more than 1,000 scans with no events of electromagnetic interference (95% CI, 0-1). Body scanners were unable to detect cardiac ICDs.
“The body scanner analyzed in the study uses a scan time of up to 100 milliseconds,” Lennerz said in an interview. “This scan time is ultra-short and certainly one reason for the observed electromagnetic compatibility.”
Although the results of this study were positive, more research is needed.
“We only analyzed one type of body scanner,” Lennerz told Cardiology Today. “The findings are transferrable to a body scanner using comparable technical properties (eg, in terms of scan time and frequency bands). However, body scanners with different properties should also be tested. Moreover, we encourage other groups to reproduce the study to increase the study population and confirm the findings.” – by Darlene Dobkowski
Lennerz C, et al. Abstract S-AB23-05. Presented at: Heart Rhythm Society Annual Scientific Sessions; May 8-11, 2019; San Francisco.
Disclosure: Lennerz reports no relevant financial disclosures.