Selective interference with pacemaker activity by electrical dental devices

Craig S. Miller, Fabio M. Leonelli, Emma Latham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Objective. We sought to determine whether electromagnetic interference with cardiac pacemakers occurs during the operation of contemporary electrical dental equipment. Study Design. Fourteen electrical dental devices were tested in vitro for their ability to interfere with the function of two Medtronics cardiac pacemakers (one a dual-chamber, bipolar Thera 7942 pacemaker, the other a single-chamber, unipolar Minix 8340 pacemaker). Atrial and ventricular pacemaker output and electrocardiographic activity were monitored by means of telemetry with the use of a Medtronics 9760/90 programmer. Results. Atrial and ventricular pacing were inhibited by electromagnetic interference produced by the electrosurgical unit up to a distance of 10 cm, by the ultrasonic bath cleaner up to 30 cm, and by the magnetorestrictive ultrasonic sealers up to 37.5 cm. In contrast, operation of the amalgamator, electric pulp tester, composite curing light, dental handpieces, electric toothbrush, microwave oven, dental chair and light, ENAC ultrasonic instrument, radiography unit, and sonic sealer did not alter pacing rate or rhythm. Conclusions. These results suggest that certain electrosurgical and ultrasonic instruments may produce deleterious effects in medically fragile patients with cardiac pacemakers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-36
Number of pages4
JournalOral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology, and Endodontics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • General Dentistry


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