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LIVING WITH

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RECOVERY

After pacemaker surgery, you might experience redness, swelling, or soreness at the site. Limit movement of your arm and avoid heavy lifting so you don’t disturb the implantation site. Try to avoid any quick or sudden movements that might dislodge the leads. Your doctor will have a list of activities that you should avoid after your procedure. There might be a small lump under the skin where the pacemaker is located, so avoid wearing tight clothing that could rub or irritate the skin at the implant site. Carefully follow your doctor’s instructions and keep your incision clean and dry. If you notice extreme redness, warmth, drainage, or bad smell, contact your doctor’s office right away as you may be getting an infection.

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PROGRAMMING

 

The pacemaker programmer lets your doctor program, reprogram, and test your implanted cardiac device. It takes measurements that your doctor can use to customize your therapy. Follow-ups are done normally a few weeks after surgery, then at regular intervals every 6-12 months while you still have the pacemaker in place.

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MONITORING SYSTEMS

 

Pacemakers may come with a monitor that can transmit data from the pacemaker to your physician. The monitor allows your doctor to continuously monitor your condition. Your pacemaker will be monitored by your physician either during an office visit or remotely with a remote monitoring system. The process of checking your pacemaker is called “Interrogation.” It can transmit information on battery life, lead function, and medical data via:

  • In-office monitoring: A programming tool is placed on your chest (you don’t have to remove your clothing) to collect information that will tell your doctor if you’ve had any irregular heart rhythms or if any electrical pulses were delivered.
  • Remote monitoring: Uses remote, wireless technology or analog landlines and transmitters to deliver information to your doctor by e-mail, fax, or phone. This allows your doctor to receive alerts and information on  arrhythmia events, battery status, and the condition of the leads. Some transmitters send data at set times, others allow data to be sent anytime, day or night. Transmitters can be placed in the home or carried like a mobile phone.

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YOUR PACEMAKER BATTERY

Depending on which pacemaker you have, before your pacemaker battery needs to be replaced, it will send a signal to your doctor. A new pacemaker will be implanted using the same procedure.

Dos and Don’ts After Surgery

Recovery from pacemaker surgery doesn’t take long, but it’s important to allow your doctor to determine when it’s safe to resume your normal activities. To begin living better with your device, here are some general safety guidelines to follow.

After recovering from surgery most patients CAN participate in:

  • Moderate exercise
  • Work
  • Driving
  • Gardening or yard work
  • Sports (avoid contact sports)
  • Bathing and showering
  • Normal sexual activity
  • Swimming (make sure there is a lifeguard on duty)
  • Traveling (inform your doctor)

Changes in your heart condition, drugs, or other health conditions may affect your pacemaker. Continue to have regular check ups to monitor your health and your pacemaker.

After recovering from surgery most patients SHOULD NOT:

  • Have a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan, unless you have an MR conditional pacemaker (must wait six weeks post-implant).
  • Walk through airport metal detectors–both walk-through detectors and the handheld kind.
  • Go near equipment or other sources that generate strong magnetic fields that can interfere with your pacemaker, i.e., power tools, radio/television/radar transmitters, theft detection systems, walkie-talkies, pagers, vehicle ignition systems, etc.
  • Participate in contact sports.
  • Allow cell phones within 6 inches (15 cm) of your pacemaker, even when turned off.
  • Have medical procedures like external defibrillation, diathermy therapy, electrosurgical procedures, lithotripsy, high dose radiation, or nuclear medicine.

WHICH DEVICE?

icon_deviceEvery patient is unique. Answering a few survey questions will help your doctor decide on the best device for you and your lifestyle.

After you complete the quiz, we will provide a printable outline of your responses that can be easily shared with your doctor.

TOP QUESTIONS

icon_questionsEveryone has questions. We’ve got answers to the ones pacemaker patients ask most.

This list of questions and answers can help you prepare for your next doctor’s consultation and possibly ease unnecessary fears.

Choosing Your Pacemaker

Not all pacemakers are alike. Get our educational eguide, Choosing Your Pacemaker, and learn what functions are key to choosing the best device for your lifestyle.

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LEARN MORE ABOUT ARRHYTHMIA

Get our educational eguide, Understanding Abnormal Heart Rhythms, and learn about the basic heart functions and types of arrhythmia.