What are your comments about RF/EMF/EMR and associations to heart arrhythmic issues?

I have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and have had to have an electric shock (defibrillation) about 18 months ago. I had a second milder episode about 5 months ago that recovered on its own without treatment while I was checking in at emergency. Because of safety concerns raised at work, I have recently been doing some reading on RF/EMF/EMR and associations to heart arrhythmic issues. For my job, I am required to carry a portable radio that emits RF/EMF that seem to fall within Canadian Federal Standards, however, my employer is now suggesting that we carry two portable radios, both of which are support using a utility belt around the waist, and both have hands free microphones that attached to an Epaulet Mic Strap near each shoulder. Additionally, we are often in a company vehicle that has a mobile radio system in the vehicle and carry a company cell (iPhone) that I generally put into a pocket compartment in a vest on my right side. On top of that, I carry two additional cell phones (one android smart phone, the other another iPhone) that I usually will put in a side thigh pocket for each leg in my tactical pants.

Some of the reading I have come across suggests that direct or frequent contact with portable electronic devices, such as the equipment I am using, could have direct negative impact on increased safety issues associated with heart arrhythmic issues and/or potentially be a cause to have triggered the atrial fibrillation episodes that I have experienced. It seems that there are a number of warnings available, and that studies are currently being conducted to measure the severity of associations to heart issues in this regard. I am wondering if you have any comments about this, are aware of safety associated issues or can direct me to studies, etc.

Best regards.

Submitted by Rob from British Columbia, Canada on 07/17/2014

by Mehdi Razavi, MD

Hi Rob,
The data suggesting external sources of electricity (in the absence of significant exposures such as electrocution or Taser guns) can lead to cardiac arrhythmias is not robust. Of course it is very hard to perform a study of this nature and perhaps this is the reason. With regards to Taser guns, I direct you to the excellent work done by Lakireddy et al at the University of Kansas. Good luck.