Physical activity trackers can cause some heart devices to stop working correctly, a new study has revealed.

Latest research has found that smartwatches, smart scales and smart rings can affect the functioning of pacemakers, cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT) devices and cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs).

A team of scientists discovered that wearable activity trackers from three of the top manufacturers contain an electrical current that stops some implanted heart devices from functioning properly.

Wearable smart gadgets contain bioimpedance sensing technology, which delivers a little, imperceptible electrical current to calculate the user’s breathing rate, body fat, level of stress and muscle mass.

In addition, wearable smart devices can track an individual’s blood pressure, heart rate and sleeping pattern, as well as how many calories they have burned throughout the day and the number of steps they have walked.

Senior author Dr Benjamin Sanchez Terrones said: “Bioimpedance sensing generated an electrical interference that exceeded Food and Drug Administration-accepted guidelines and interfered with proper CIED functioning.”

According to the researchers, wearable activity trackers can disrupt the functioning of cardiac devices by sending unnecessary shocks to the heart or causing pacing interruptions.

Dr Sanchez Terrones noted: “Our findings call for future clinical studies examining patients with CIEDs and wearables.

“Our research is the first to study devices that employ bioimpedance-sensing technology as well as discover potential interference problems with CIEDs such as CRT devices.”

He added: “We need to test across a broader cohort of devices and in patients with these devices. Collaborative investigation between researchers and industry would be helpful for keeping patients safe.”

Associate Medical Directors at the British Heart Foundation, Professor James Leiper said: “As more people wear smartwatches and other devices with body-monitoring technology, it is important to understand any potential interference they may cause with lifesaving medical devices like ICDs and pacemakers.

“This study is a first step in this process. However, more research needs to be done in this area to understand any effects in patients.”

The full study has been published in the Heart Rhythm journal.

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