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Effects of Radio Controlled Toys on St. Jude Medical Implantable Cardiac Rhythm Devices


Radio control (often abbreviated to R/C or simply RC) is the use of radio signals to remotely control a device. The term is used frequently to refer to the control of model vehicles from a hand-held radio transmitter.

Potential effects

Because RC toys emit electromagnetic waves in the radio band of frequencies, they are a potential source of EMI. Most RC toys from toy stores typically transmit very low power and therefore should not pose a major risk of electromagnetic interference. Transmitters for RC airplanes and other hobby-grade toys can transmit at much higher power levels, and may pose a greater risk. No reports of interference have been received by St. Jude Medical on any RC toy.

A summary of potential effects is provided in the table below and is based on device testing at St. Jude Medical, clinical experience and/or a review of the scientific literature.

Potential Effect Estimated Frequency
  Pacemakers ICDs
Temporary inhibition of pacing/therapy Rare Rare
Inappropriate therapy Rare Rare


For most RC toys, it is recommended to keep the transmitter at waist level and away from the pacemaker or ICD, with the antenna positioned perpendicular to the patient’s body to further reduce any risk. For RC airplanes and other high-power RC toys, consider using a “buddy box,” which allows the user to hold a hard-wired controller several feet away from the RC transmitter unit.

If you have any questions on this topic, please contact St. Jude Medical Technical Services at 46-8-474-4147 or 1-800-722-3774 (in the U.S.).

PDF Effects of Radio Controlled Toys on St. Jude Medical Implantable Cardiac Rhythm Devices (18.3kb)
Rev 09/11