Some cardiac devices can have a definite impact on your day-to-day life. For example, external monitors have contacts and wires that you must be aware of during the time you are using it to get information about your heart’s activity. And some internal devices come with a long list of things you must avoid once they’re implanted.
An insertable cardiac monitor, on the other hand, is a blend of performance and convenience. For starters, the device can be inserted in a low-impact surgery that only takes about 10 minutes. That’s right… you can get your new device in less time than it takes to boil an egg.
Insertable cardiac monitors monitor your heart rhythm day in and day out and have the ability to share updates with your physician. While some insertable cardiac monitors require the patient to link the implanted device to a handheld transmitter or smart phone in order to send the data to the clinic, most insertable cardiac monitors have data transmission capabilities and some are even fully automatic, so your physician can provide the right treatment at the right time. Regardless of their transmission abilities, these monitors are small, flexible and out of the way.
Of course, with any device comes special considerations. Here are a few things you should know about an insertable cardiac monitor. This list is far from comprehensive, so it’s important for you to have a discussion with your physician to get the detailed instructions related to each specific device, but the following things are typically true for insertable cardiac monitors.
What You Can Still Do
Most patients are able to resume daily activities just a few days after surgery. For example, you could exercise, swim and take a bath once the incision site has healed, without worry.
Crucially, modern insertable cardiac monitors make it possible for you to get an MRI if it becomes necessary. This wasn’t always the case, so it can be a big deal that you have access to a test that can have such an impact on your health.
What to Avoid
Although an insertable cardiac monitor offers some protection from electromagnetic interference, that doesn’t mean it’s impervious. Electromagnetic energy is everywhere. Basically, if something uses electricity, it emits electromagnetic energy.
Most energy fields are weak. But if you come in contact with a stronger electromagnetic field, there’s always the risk that it might temporarily interfere with the functionality of your insertable cardiac monitor.
So what are some of the things that produce strong enough fields to pose a problem? Security screening systems are a common culprit. Think about it. They’re designed to send signals that penetrate your clothing and search for dangerous objects, so they definitely have the potency to mess with a medical device. One possible solution is to get a device card that allows you to get alternative clearance.
Cell phones can also be a problem. Again, this shouldn’t be too surprising. If that little device is powerful enough to transmit your conversation overseas, it’s also strong enough to interfere with your device. A good rule of thumb is to keep your phone at least six inches from your device implant site. Hold the phone to your opposite ear from your device, and store it in a pocket on the opposite side.
Similar to cell phones, computers, smart watches, activity trackers, and tablets that are Wi-Fi enabled can pose a problem. Be aware of what’s around you and try to always maintain a safe distance between yourself and these types of devices.
Again, it should be noted that this list is far from comprehensive. If you have additional questions, speak with your physician. He or she can provide the detailed information you need to stay safe and healthy.