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FDA Draft Guidance – Info to Support a Claim of EMC for Medical Devices

FDA Draft Guidance on EMC Info support claimsOn 2 Nov 2015 FDA issued a draft Guidance document titled: “Information to Support a Claim of Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) of Electrically-Powered Medical Devices”.  The Guidance was developed to describe the types of information that the FDA expects to be provided in a premarket submission to support a claim of Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) for electrically-powered medical devices.  The FDA specifically defines, for this Guidance document, that EMC is “the ability of a device to function (a) properly in its intended electromagnetic environment, including immunity to electromagnetic disturbance (interference1), and (b) without introducing excessive electromagnetic disturbances (emissions) that might interfere with other devices.”

A reminder that FDA Guidances and Recognized Consensus Standards are voluntary.  But I remind my clients’ that if you don’t use these voluntary documents for premarket submissions you make your life and the reviewer’s life a lot harder, typically.  So, I recommend, in most cases, to use these voluntary documents to speed up the process, in the long run.  In the short run, you may need to do more testing but if you don’t you risk the chance of your product not being accepted by the FDA.

The Guidance goes on to say that “the review of EMC information in a submission is based on the risk associated with EMC malfunction or degradation of the device under review, as well as the use of appropriate FDA-recognized standards or appropriate consensus standards.”  The Guidance indicates that manufacturers typically reference in premarket submissions Recognized consesnsus national (US) and international standards such as IEC 60601-1-22) (3rd or 4th edition) Medical Electrical Equipment EMC standard, device specific Particular Standards such as IEC 60601-2-XX, and lastly they reference other consensus standards for electrically-powered deevices that include information on EMC such as ISO 147083 for active implantable medical devices.

The Guidance continues with a listing of details that FDA is expecting manufacturer’s provide in their premarket submissions, so the medical device EMC information is clear and consistent information for the submission, and are consistent with the specifications included in the standards, as referenced above, that are applied to the premarket submission.  The Guidance points to the FDA Recognized Consensus Standards database located at http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfStandards/search.cfm.

The rest of the Guidance, Section II “EMC Information”, details the list of items the FDA is expecting of the manufacturer’s for premarket submissions.  And of course the FDA leaves an opening for a broad statement at the end of the section that says: “Additional information not outlined above may be requested by FDA depending on intended use and intended use environment for specific active medical devices (e.g. implantable portions of active devices) to demonstrate the device’s claims regarding electromagnetic compatibility (EMC).”

If you need help with this FDA Draft Guidance or with IEC 60601-1-2 edition 3 or edition 4 or you are interested in our new Eisner Safety Consultants Standards Reconnaissance Database please email Leo Eisner directly at Leo at EisnerSafety dot com, or call Leo at +1 (503)-244-6151. He is the Principal Consultant of Eisner Safety Consultants (bit.ly/EisnerSafetyConsultants).


Footnotes cited from FDA Draft Guidance Document issued on 2 Nov 2015 titled: “Information to Support a Claim of Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) of Electrically-Powered Medical Devices”

1. According to International definitions, “disturbance” is the cause and “interference” is the effect. In the US, “interference” is often used interchangeably for both cause and effect though more often for the cause. 
2. IEC 60601-1-2: 2007 [3rd Ed.]:Medical Electrical Equipment – Part 1-2: General Requirements for Safety – Collateral Standard: Electromagnetic Compatibility – Requirements and Tests, IEC 60601-1-2:2014 [4th Ed.], Medical Electrical Equipment, Part 1 2: General Requirements for Basic Safety and Essential Performance – Collateral Standard: Electromagnetic Disturbances – Requirements and Tests, AAMI/ANSI/IEC 60601-1-2: 2007 [3rd Ed.]:Medical Electrical Equipment – Part 1-2: General Requirements for Safety – Collateral Standard: Electromagnetic Compatibility – Requirements and Tests, and AAMI/ANSI/IEC 60601-1-2: 2014 [4th Ed.]:Medical Electrical Equipment – Part 1-2: General Requirements for Safety – Collateral Standard: Electromagnetic Disturbances – Requirements and Tests 
3. ISO 14708-3 Implants for surgery — Active implantable medical devices — Part 3: Implantable neurostimulators