Safety of Electromagnetic Articulography in Patients With Pacemakers and Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillators PurposeElectromagnetic articulography (EMA) uses a helmet to create alternating magnetic fields for tracking speech articulator movement. An important safety consideration is whether EMA magnetic fields interfere with the operation of speakers' pacemakers or implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs). In this investigation, individuals with pacemaker/ICD devices were exposed to EMA fields under controlled ... Research Note
Research Note  |   August 01, 2009
Safety of Electromagnetic Articulography in Patients With Pacemakers and Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillators
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jose A. Joglar
    The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX
  • Carol Nguyen
    The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX
  • Diane M. Garst
    Dallas Veterans Administration Research Corporation, Dallas, TX
  • William F. Katz
    The University of Texas at Dallas
  • Contact author: William F. Katz, The University of Texas at Dallas, Callier Center for Communication Disorders, 1966 Inwood Road., Dallas, TX 75235-7298. E-mail: wkatz@utdallas.edu.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech
Research Note   |   August 01, 2009
Safety of Electromagnetic Articulography in Patients With Pacemakers and Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillators
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2009, Vol. 52, 1082-1087. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0028)
History: Received January 31, 2008 , Accepted October 12, 2008
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2009, Vol. 52, 1082-1087. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0028)
History: Received January 31, 2008; Accepted October 12, 2008

PurposeElectromagnetic articulography (EMA) uses a helmet to create alternating magnetic fields for tracking speech articulator movement. An important safety consideration is whether EMA magnetic fields interfere with the operation of speakers' pacemakers or implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs). In this investigation, individuals with pacemaker/ICD devices were exposed to EMA fields under controlled conditions while potential interference was examined.

MethodTwelve adults with pacemaker/ICD devices from 3 major manufacturers were assessed for device function before, during, and after exposure to magnetic fields from a Carstens AG100 EMA system. Potential interference was probed, with EMA transmitters positioned at varying distances from the implantable devices and with the EMA system set at different operating strengths.

ResultsNo adverse affects in device operation were observed under any conditions. The only potential complication was temporary telemetry-link interference during device testing in some cases.

ConclusionThe results suggest that EMA technology may be safely used with patients who have pacemakers and ICDs. However, the present findings do not rule out potential interference with other pacemaker/ICD manufacturers or with different articulography systems. Precautions are suggested for testing individuals with pacemaker/ICDs under EMA conditions.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported, in part, by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Rehabilitation Research and Development Service Award B3670R to Malcolm R. McNeil. We thank the participants for their help in this study. We also thank Paschal van Lieshout for insightful comments on an earlier version of the article.
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