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March 25, 1998

Joint Statement of the
Federal Communications Commission and the
Food and Drug Administration
Regarding Avoidance of Interference Between
Digital Television and Medical Telemetry Devices

Certain medical telemetry devices, such as cardiac monitors, are allowed to use TV broadcast channels that are unoccupied in their geographic area. However, television stations are now beginning to use these formerly unoccupied TV channels as they transition to digital television service. When this occurs, the digital signal may interfere with medical telemetry systems. Such cases of interference have occurred recently and fortunately no patients were significantly affected. The Federal Communications Commission and the Food and Drug Administration are taking steps to avert such cases of interference in the future.

Medical telemetry devices have long shared the TV broadcast spectrum on a secondary basis. This sharing can continue during the implementation of digital television. However, it is important to ensure that broadcasters, the health care community and manufacturers of medical devices have adequate information and take appropriate steps to avoid radio frequency interference.

The FCC and the FDA are taking the following actions to address interference to medical telemetry devices:

Federal Communications Commission:

Food and Drug Administration:

Joint FCC & FDA: