Purpose: The aim of this study was to assess if common mobile communication systems would cause significant interference on mechanical ventilation devices and at what distances would such interference occur. Materials and Methods: We tested all the invasive and noninvasive ventilatory devices used within our region. This consisted of 2 adult mechanical ventilators, 1 portable ventilator, 2 pediatric ventilators, and 2 noninvasive positive pressure ventilatory devices. We operated the mobile devices from the 2 cellular communication systems (digital) and 1 2-way radio system used in our province at varying distances from the ventilators and looked at any interference they created. We tested the 2-way radio system, which had a fixed operation power output of 3.0 watts, the Global Systems for Mobile Communication cellular system, which had a maximum power output of 2.0 watts and the Time Division Multiple Access cellular system, which had a maximum power output of 0.2 watts on our ventilators. The ventilators were ventilating a plastic lung at fixed settings. The mobile communication devices were tested at varying distances starting at zero meter from the ventilator and in all operation modes. Results: The 2-way radio caused the most interference on some of the ventilators, but the maximum distance of interference was 1.0 m. The Global Systems for Mobile Communication system caused significant interference only at 0 m and minor interference at 0.5 m on only 1 ventilator. The Time Division Multiple Access system caused no interference at all. Significant interference consisted of a dramatic rise and fluctuation of the respiratory rate, pressure, and positive end-expiratory pressure of the ventilators with no normalization when the mobile device was removed. Conclusions: From our experiment on our ventilators with the communication systems used in our province, we conclude that mobile communication devices such as cellular phones and 2-way radios are safe and cause no interference unless operated at very close distances of less than 1 meter. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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