Effects of electromagnetic field exposure on the heart: a systematic review

Toxicol Ind Health. 2016 Jan;32(1):76-82. doi: 10.1177/0748233713498444. Epub 2013 Sep 10.


The use of electrical devices has gradually increased throughout the last century, and scientists have suggested that electromagnetic fields (EMF) generated by such devices may have harmful effects on living creatures. This work represents a systematic review of collective scholarly literature examining the effects of EMFs on the heart. Although most works describing effects of EMF exposure have been carried out using city electric frequencies (50-60 Hz), a consensus has not been reached about whether long- or short-term exposure to 50-60 Hz EMF negatively affects the heart. Studies have indicated that EMFs produced at cell-phone frequencies cause no-effect on the heart. Differences between results of studies may be due to a compensatory response developed by the body over time. At greater EMF strengths or shorter exposures, the ability of the body to develop compensation mechanisms is reduced and the potential for heart-related effects increases. It is noteworthy that diseases of heart tissues such as myocardial ischemia can also be successfully treated using EMF. Despite the substantial volume of data that has been collected on heart-related effects of EMFs, additional studies are needed at the cellular and molecular level to fully clarify the subject. Until the effects of EMF on heart tissue are more fully explored, electronic devices generating EMFs should be approached with caution.

Keywords: Electric field; electromagnetic field; heart; heart rate; magnetic field.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Phone
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Heart / radiation effects*
  • Humans