Beware: Why Blindly Trusting Wearable Fitness Trackers Could Be Putting Your Health At Risk

Shocking Truth: Could Your Fitness Tracker Give You Unnecessary and Dangerous Heart Shocks? Calculations and Experiments Reveal Alarming Results

In today’s world, health, and fitness tracking technologies have become an integral part of our daily lives. Fitness trackers like smartwatches, Fitbits, and at-home scales are commonly used by health-conscious individuals. However, a recent study published in the journal Heart Rhythm has brought to light a potentially alarming risk associated with these devices. Researchers at the University of Utah have warned that wearable technology could cause cardiac issues in vulnerable and weak patients. This article provides a thorough analysis of the study’s findings, the possible risks associated with wearable fitness trackers, and the potential consequences of their use by patients with cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs).

Disrupting Medical Equipment

The study shows that these wearable technologies could interfere with the proper functioning of medical equipment like pacemakers, cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs), and cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) implants. The team of researchers discovered that the tiny electrical current generated by bioimpedance sensing, a feature found in many wearable technologies, could deceive the heart into believing it is beating quickly enough, preventing the pacemaker from functioning as intended. Additionally, the same electrical current could deceive the defibrillator into giving the patient an unexpected and potentially harmful electric shock.

Risk for Patients

The team’s analysis revealed that patients with CIEDs are particularly vulnerable to the risks associated with wearable fitness trackers. Bioimpedance sensing could cause electrical interference that exceeds the levels permitted by the Food and Drug Administration and hinders the proper operation of CIEDs. The study’s lead author, Dr. Benjamin Sanchez Terrones, emphasizes that the team’s findings are a cause for concern and call for future clinical studies to examine patients with CIEDs and wearables.

Wearable fitness trackers, such as Fitbits and smartwatches, have become increasingly popular as people track their exercise and health levels. However, a recent study from the University of Utah cautions that these gadgets may pose a risk to certain patients. The study found that these high-tech devices can interfere with medical equipment, such as pacemakers and cardioverter defibrillators, which may trigger a heart attack in vulnerable patients. The study raises a red flag and calls for further clinical studies to examine patients with cardiac implants and wearables. This serves as a starting point for future research to determine the extent of the risk to patients who use these wearable technologies.

Sophisticated Technology

Wearable technologies, like smart rings and at-home scales, are designed to measure the body’s response to a microscopic, undetectable current of electricity. These gadgets can gauge an individual’s skeletal muscle or fat mass, amount of stress, or vital signs like breathing rate. The same electrical current is used to test how well CRT devices work. The researchers’ calculations and laboratory experiments show that smartwatches and similar devices could result in unneeded and unexpected cardiac shocks, highlighting the sophisticated technology behind these gadgets.


The study’s authors suggest that patients with pacemakers, ICDs, or CRT implants should be cautious when using wearable fitness trackers. The team advises that individuals should carefully follow the instructions provided with their CIEDs to ensure proper operation. Moreover, the authors suggest that future clinical studies are necessary to investigate the risks associated with wearable technologies, especially for individuals with CIEDs.

In conclusion, wearable technologies are becoming more and more sophisticated, and their use is growing in popularity. However, patients with CIEDs need to be aware of the risks associated with these technologies. The study’s findings suggest that wearable fitness trackers could potentially trigger a heart attack in some patients. Therefore, patients with pacemakers, ICDs, or CRT implants should take extra care when using these devices. Future clinical studies will help to shed more light on this issue, and it is essential to continue investigating the impact of wearable technologies on the health and well-being of individuals.


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