If you are a fitness enthusiast and love to wear smartwatches to keep your vitals checked, then you have to be cautious. If you are a heart patient or if you know someone who has a pacemaker installed on their heart or if any other cardiac electronic device is implanted for heart health, then these wearable devices might inadvertently affect heart health, a study warned.
Within a few years, rise of wearable health tech has rapidly grown in recent past years, blurring the line between consumer and medical devices.
The study which got published in Heart Rhythm has noted that despite the obvious benefits, certain wellness and fitness trackers could pose serious risks among people who are having cardiac implantable electronic devices like implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), pacemakers and cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT) devices.
The main reason for the trouble and the concern is that the smartwatches have some rings or scales which emit electrical currents, which interfere with these lifesaving implantable heart devices. These smart wearables might cause malfunction to the heart devices which may result in dangerous outcomes.
The researchers from the University of Utah in the US said, "The present findings do not recommend the use of these devices in this population due to potential interference."
For the study, the team has been evaluating the safety of smart scales, smart rings or smart watches with bioimpedance technology via testing and simulation.
"Bioimpedance sensing generated an electrical interference that exceeded Food and Drug Administration-accepted guidelines and interfered with proper CIED functioning," explained lead investigator Benjamin Sanchez Terrones, from the varsity's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Benjamin has further emphasised that the results, which has determined through careful simulations and benchtop testing, do not convey an immediate or clear risk to the patients who are wearing the trackers. But there have the different levels emitted could result in pacing interruptions or unnecessary shocks to the heart.
"Our findings call for future clinical studies examining patients with CIEDs and wearables."