Living with a Pacemaker: What to do and what not to do
by Dr. Rakesh Sarkar | Published on 30/04/2022
A pacemaker is a battery-operated device that is implanted in the chest to assist the heart in performing its functions. Although the device is very small, its placement calls for the need for some changes in your regular lifestyle, so as to avoid unnecessary complications and ensure a healthy prognosis. The device helps to support normal heart rhythm by preventing your heart from beating too slowly. This helps in the effective management of various symptoms associated with slow heart rates, such as fatigue, breathlessness and fainting. After you get the transplant you will be briefed about the various guidelines that you need to take care of. In this blog, we have mentioned some of the most important of these post-implantation guidelines, with the help of an expert specializing in pacemaker surgery in Kolkata.
Going back to a regular lifestyle
Getting a pacemaker implant can help you to take part in all those activities that you earlier had to refrain from indulging in. However, there are still certain limitations that you just can't ignore.
- Do not indulge in rigorous physical activities, because when you do so there is an increased demand for oxygenated blood in your body, as a result of which your heart has to beat at a faster pace. This can put an extra load on the pacemaker. As such it is important to consult your doctor before taking part in any physical activity and start slowly and gradually.
- If you wish to take on the steering wheel again, you need to first consult a doctor. Whether you can drive or not, depends upon the various symptoms that you have been experiencing lately. It is very important to recover completely and then resort to such activities.
- As far as your sexual life is concerned, there are not many restrictions however keep a check on your heart rate and slow down if it's too high. It is better to avoid any kind of sexual activity for a week following the procedure and then you can start steadily.
Handling household appliances
You have to be very careful while using household appliances that run on electricity as their electromagnetic interference can affect the normal functioning of the pacemaker. Thanks to recent advancements, we now have pacemakers that a designed to work normally around most appliances, however, experts specialising and pacemaker implants in Kolkata suggest that there are still certain limitations that need to be taken into account.
- You can use devices like electric razors, cordless phones, handheld massagers and portable MP3s, provided you do not place them directly over your chest.
- Cell phones and Bluetooth devices like earbuds and headphones should not be closer than 6 inches to the pacemaker.
- Devices like lawnmowers, snowblowers, stereo speakers, drills etc should be kept at a distance of 12 inches or even more.
- You need to strictly stay away from arc welders, running motors and generators, at a distance of at least 24 inches.
- While using it cell phone make sure there is at least 6 inches of gap between the pacemaker and the phone. Hold the phone to your right ear, as this is opposite the side of the pacemaker.
Be cautious while travelling
Having a pacemaker does not mean that you can travel no more. However, it does me that you have to take some extra precautions while doing so, especially when you are travelling by air.
- First of all, you need to know that the Airport Security system does not harm or affect the functioning of your pacemaker, however, it may set off the metal detectors at the security check. Hence you should always carry your medical identity card to avoid any inconvenience at an airport.
- You can ask the security personnel to use a hand-help security wand, but make sure that they do not hold it over the pacemaker for too long as it can temporarily affect the functioning of your pacemaker. You can always opt for a hand-pat search as it does not involve the use of any electrical appliance.
- Experts from the best Cardiac Centre in Kolkata suggest that it is always better to carry your medical device identification card at all times because you may have to undergo security checks at malls, stores, railway stations and many other places.
So make sure that you keep all these points in mind and consult a doctor immediately if you feel that something is not right.