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WORLD NEWS Pools May Pose Hazard For People With Heart Devices


Recent case studies in the US have shown that electricity from pools’ lighting systems might interfere with implanted defibrillators and researchers caution that swimming pools may pose a risk to patients with irregular heartbeats who’ve received implantable defibrillators.


The issue: a danger that electrical currents linked to standard pool utilities such as lighting may ‘leak,’ causing a defibrillator to misread the status of a patient’s heart. Implanted cardioverter defibrillators continuously monitor and control a patient’s heart rhythm.


“How common this is, we don’t know,” said


Dr. John Day, Second Vice President of the Heart Rhythm Society, a group representing arrhythmia specialists. “It’s quite possible that there’s underreporting going on, because when we see patients and we see noise recorded on their device we can’t account for where it’s coming from.”


The concern stems from a few recent incidents that have been documented. In two cases, people with defibrillators experienced


device misreadings while in a private family or hotel pool, and in another two cases, people experienced unwarranted shocks from their defibrillators while in public pools. The cases all involved younger arrhythmia patients between the ages of eight and 23. However, the investigators said there’s no reason to believe that patients of all ages would not face a similar risk if they had such devices. “I don’t want to be an alarmist, because I do think we would have heard about this sort of thing happening much more often than we have if it were a really widespread problem,” said study lead author Dr. Daniel Shmorhun, a pediatric cardiologist- electrophysiologist with Children’s Cardiology Associates, an affiliate of the Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas in Austin.


“The nice thing about defibrillators is that they put a time-stamp on all activity,” he noted. “So we were able to ask questions and delve into this after two patients came in with interference noise on their devices. And we


found that both had been in pools at the time their defibrillators read the interference.” In the new study, Shmorhun and Fenrich reviewed the cases of two female patients (one aged eight years and one aged 23 years), in which their defibrillators registered so-called ‘noise reversions’ directly linked to time spent in swimming pools. In each case their devices picked up the reversion, classified it as an outside interference, reverted to a mode that actively ignored noise, and thereby prevented any accidental shock.


After the lighting system was repaired in the family pool in which the eight-year-old had swum, the girl did not experience any further defibrillator trouble, the researchers said. The older patient, however, simply decided no longer to use public pools, and has experienced no further problems. Shmorhun and Fenrich believe that low-level electrical current leaking from swimming pool wiring might be an ‘underappreciated cause’ of unwarranted defibrillator shocks.


Are Rooftop Swimming Pools The Coolest Ever?


They say form follows function, but it seems that NL Architects based in the Netherlands are aspiring to achieve the opposite. At the request of a visionary client who had purchased a property in Del Ray Beach, Florida and planned to replace the existing 12,000 square foot mansion with a smaller home of 8,000 and guest house of 4,000 square feet, the Dutch architecture firm drafted several jaw-dropping design plans to build rooftop swimming pools for single-family homes. Unfortunately their would-be patron fell through, but the company is still hoping to find another investor to make these personal paradises a reality.


88 June 2013 SPN www.swimmingpoolnews.co.uk


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