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.
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
- 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.