The Federal Communications Commission has issued a final rule making modifications and clarifications to previous rules governing the Medical Device Radiocommunications Service, or MedRadio.

MedRadio is an ultra-low power, unlicensed mobile radio service for transmitting data in support of diagnostic or therapeutic functions associated with implanted and worn medical devices, according to the FCC. MedRadio permits individuals and medical practitioners to utilize ultra-low power medical implant devices, such as cardiac pacemakers and glucose monitoring devices, without causing interference to other users of the electromagnetic radio spectrum.

The final rule, published Aug. 26 in the Federal Register, addresses a petition for reconsideration from device manufacturer Medtronic Inc., Minneapolis. The company requested modifications in how transmitter power is measured to permit measurement techniques previously allowed under rules that later were superseded.

Medtronic argued that the inability to use the previous "average power techniques" for measurement would require MedRadio devices to reduce power. That would be detrimental to reliable operation of existing equipment and adversely affect development of next-generation devices.

St. Jude Medical Inc., another device maker, agreed with Medtronic, saying adhering only to a newer "peak power" measurement rule would sharply reduce the range of some devices. The FCC in the new rule made the requested MedRadio measurement changes.

The commission accepted some more minor corrections or clarifications in other areas and rejected other such requests. The rule is available at

--Joseph Goedert


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