Safety of electromagnetic articulography in patients with pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators

Jose A. Joglar, Carol Nguyen, Diane M. Garst, William F. Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: Electromagnetic 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. Method: Twelve 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. Results: No 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. Conclusion: The 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1082-1087
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2009


  • Defibrillator
  • EMA safety
  • Electromagnetic articulography
  • Electromagnetic interference
  • Pacemaker

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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