Patients with heart rhythm abnormalities or heart failure can be treated with the use of gadgets like pacemakers and defibrillators. In 2023, there will likely be 1 to 1.4 million pacemaker implantations worldwide.
Electric vehicle high-power charging stations have the potential to interfere with defibrillators and pacemakers that are used in the heart. High power chargers for electric vehicles are safe for patients who have such devices, according to a new study released this month.
The study was showcased at EHRA 2023, the yearly gathering of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) section of the European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA), and it was written up in the ESC journal.
The newest high-powered charging stations for electric vehicles have the potential to generate strong electromagnetic fields that could damage pacemakers and defibrillators. We previously looked into the possibility of electromagnetic interference with cardiac equipment while operating electric vehicles and discovered that the charging wire had the strongest electromagnetic field. Dr. Carsten Lennerz, who is the study’s lead author and a physician at the German Heart Centre in Munich, claims that “this became the initial study that evaluated the potential risk of electromagnetic pollution among individuals who have cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs) that utilise high power chargers.”Patients with heart rhythm abnormalities or heart failure can be treated with the use of gadgets like pacemakers and defibrillators. In 2023, there will likely be 1 to 1.4 million pacemaker implantations worldwide.
The scientists estimate that there are between 8 and 12 million pacemakers in use worldwide, considering that persons with pacemakers typically live 8.5 years on average. Additionally, an implanted cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is given to between 150,000 and 200,000 patients worldwide each year.
“High power chargers with a maximum output of 350 kW were developed to shorten charging times. While earlier traditional household chargers utilise AC (alternating current), newer chargers feature DC (direct current), allowing for increased power delivery. A pacemaker could stop pacing or a defibrillator could give painful shock therapy inadvertently (due to mistakenly recognising a rapid arrhythmia) with a higher charging current since there could be a more powerful magnetic field and a higher danger of electromagnetic interference. The usage of extremely powerful chargers for patients having CIEDs is not officially advised, according to the scientists.
A pacemaker or defibrillator was used by 130 individuals during the research. There were 21% women and a 59-year-old median age. During the investigation, four fully electric cars that are readily accessible and capable of high-powered charging were used. These vehicles, however, are unable to handle the 350 kW maximum charge. The researchers also employed a test vehicle that could consume 350 kW from these powerful chargers because it is extremely likely that in the future electric automobiles will take the highest charge.
Participants’ cardiac equipment were set up to detect electromagnetic interference as best they could. Then, in order to increase the possibility of electromagnetic interference, they were instructed to plug in and charge each automobile while placing the charging wire right over their heart monitoring equipment. Patients were closely watched for any cardiac device issues, such as failure to give pacing therapy or improperly detect unusually rapid heartbeats. After the automobiles were charged, the cardiac apparatus were also examined for any damage or alterations to their programming.
The researchers discovered that a total of 561 charges were made, and they did not see any negative effects brought on by electromagnetic interference. In particular, neither improper detection of rapid rhythms that can result in unpleasant shock treatment for people with defibrillators nor suppression of pacing in pacemakers were seen.
“This study was planned to increase the likelihood of electromagnetic interference in the worst-case situation. Despite this, we did not detect any clinically significant electromagnetic interference or device malfunction while using high power chargers, indicating that there shouldn’t be any limitations imposed on their use for patients wearing cardiac devices, according to a statement from Dr. Lennerz.
He pointed out that the study didn’t cover residential chargers, but rather high power charging equipment. “Home chargers draw less power, but AC produces a distinct magnetic field from DC. Home charging is probably secure if you take sensible precautions, such avoiding the charging wire for prolonged periods of time, he continued.
Patients using cardiac devices should rest confident that it’s safe to charge electric cars using high power chargers. Pacemakers and defibrillators pose a very minimal risk of malfunction in this circumstance. It’s safe to stand close to the charging cable or charger or sit inside the car while charging. To keep yourself away from the charging elements, we would advise against placing the charging wire exactly over the cardiac device, according to Dr. Lennerz.