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Can A Bra Interact With A Pacemaker Or Defibrillator?

This comment [with a specific photo] was posted on my blog earlier:

“I was reading one of your old posts about magnets and I was wondering if a magnetic front closure on a bra would be a problem? There’s a warning on the label but I know part of that is just due to liability. What about this bra that has a magnet clasp on the front? If the magnet hits right in between the breasts would it be close enough to the device that it could interfere? Also does having a magnet that close change the settings or turn off a defibrillator/pacemaker early? I’m sure most doctors would say just wear another bra but this bra in particular is very comfy! I’ve tried it on but not worn it for extended periods of time. Luckily this is one of the only major complaints I’ve had about having heart disease and a [medical] device at such a young age.”

First, let me say thank you for asking this question. Who knew research could be so, er, entertaining! Second, this question reinforces why medical blogging is so great: You learn something new every day.

Now, as I slap myself back to a bit more professional stance, I’ll summarize by saying I think you’ll be okay to use such a bra with some precautions. Given the picture and the clasp’s location, this bra is more likely to interfere with the pacemaker of the partner you hug rather than yourself, provided your pacemaker was implanted over three centimeters from the magnetic clasp. Since most pacemakers and defibrillators are implanted just below the collar bone, the chance of the magenetic clasp to interfere with your device is remote. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

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