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Heart Disease overview > Heart Health Q&A >

Will Magnets Affect A Pacemaker?

Q: Will jewelry or name badges with magnets on them affect a pacemaker or defibrillator? What about airport security devices?

A: Magnets containing neodymium, iron, and boron can interfere with the functioning of cardiac pacemakers and cardiac defibrillators (ICDs). These small magnets often are found in household devices, computers, and even reading glasses.

Most security devices at airports won't affect pacemakers or defibrillators as long as exposure is limited. They may detect the metal in your pacemaker, but they won't damage it.

Jennifer H. Mieres, M.D., is director of nuclear cardiology and associate professor of clinical medicine at New York University. She's also a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association.

 
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