Hybrid Cars Don’t Harm Heart Implants

hybrid cars don't harm heart implants, says new study

Your hybrid car, or even your all electric car, will not harm your cardiac implant. That’s the good news from the Mayo Clinic, which reported on its new study Saturday at the American College of Cardiology Annual Scientific Session in San Francisco.

Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) significantly lower the risk of sudden death from a heart attack — much more than just using medications to treat irregular heartbeat. However, although the Mayo Clinic said that problems with heart implants are considered rare, they can happen. They recommend a number of precautions that you must take after getting an implant, including keeping your cell phone more than 6 inches from your chest area, asking airport security staff to limit scanning, and informing other doctors that you have the implant before they schedule procedures like MRIs.

Two doctors, Luis R. Scott and Fernando Tondato, based at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, were the lead investigators of the new study, which was prompted by an awareness of the growing popularity of fuel-saving hybrid cars. Their preliminary study tested heart implants from three manufacturers in a 2012 Toyota Prius hybrid, both while the car was speeding up and slowing down, as well as at steady speeds of 30 miles per hour (mph) and 60 mph.

Dr. Scott said that it might be necessary to repeat the tests with other models of hybrids, but their tests with the Prius showed that it didn’t interfere with the life-saving IDCs.

That’s great news for drivers with heart disease. Although Wolff Bachner recently reported on how Japanese and US auto manufacturers are backing away from developing fully electric cars, hybrid cars continue to attract new buyers who want a practical way to cut down on fuel costs. Even luxury models like Lamborghini may ultimately use the technology.

Of course, you should always check with your cardiologist if you have any concerns about how your heart implant will react with electric devices. But the Mayo Clinic study provided new evidence that you can safely drive a hybrid car.