Electronic Surveillance

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Effects of Electronic Article Surveillance on St. Jude Medical Implantable Cardiac Rhythm Devices

Background

Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) systems are commonly used in retail stores to prevent the theft of merchandise by detecting the presence of a marker that is attached to the packaging or to the merchandise itself. The gates at the entrances and exits of these stores emit a radiofrequency energy that is reflected back to the gates by these markers.

Potential effects

There is a possibility that a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) may mistake the energy as the heart’s natural rhythm and withhold its pacing output. Since the energy emitted by the gates is localized to the area between and around the gates, this potential inhibition would only occur for the duration that the patient remains in the energy field. If there is any effect, it would be temporary, and the pacemaker or ICD will not be damaged or reprogrammed.

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
Single beat inhibition Rare Rare

Recommendations 

“Don’t lean. Don’t linger.” Walk through the gates at a normal pace and do not lean against the gates. If you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or short of breath while in the vicinity of the gates, simply move away from them and normal pacemaker or ICD function will resume immediately.  

Additionally, it is important to be mindful that some security systems are hidden. For this reason, patients should not linger directly within the entrances of larger retail establishments. 

If you have any questions on this topic, please contact St. Jude Medical Technical Services at 800-722-3774.

PDF Effects of Electronic Article Surveillance on St. Jude Medical Implantable Cardiac Rhythm Devices (18.6kb)
Rev 09/10