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Living With a Pacemaker: What you need to know

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Living With a Pacemaker: What you need to know

Cardiac Surgery | by Dr. Manoj Kumar Daga | Published on 23/03/2022

If you are suffering from a slow heartbeat (bradycardia), erratic heartbeat (arrhythmia), or a heart blockage, your heart specialist may have recommended pacemaker implantation for you. It’s an electronic device placed under the skin to regulate heartbeat at a normal pace. In the beginning, you may feel insecure about the surgery, and what’s allowed and what’s not with lots of questions about the quality of life after getting the pacemaker. Here we will discuss the same with our expert practicing pacemaker surgery in Kolkata. Continue reading to learn more.

Most patients may think that having a pacemaker will affect their daily life. However, Your life should not be drastically disrupted as a result of that.

Your pacemaker should not have a noticeable negative influence on your lifestyle if you take a few easy measures and follow your healthcare provider's schedule for frequent follow-ups.

Early days with your pacemaker:

Your doctor will go over all of the restrictions and precautions with you after your pacemaker is implanted. Make sure you and your caregiver are both clear on the directions. Do not be hesitant to ask questions.

Make sure you know what your pacemaker's lower and upper heart rates are before you leave the hospital. Consult your doctor about the highest heart rate that your pacemaker can tolerate.

Things you need to keep in mind right after surgery-

  • You will be able to perform all the activities that a normal person of your age can do.
  • You can increase the level of activity in a phased manner to consult your doctor before performing heavy activities.
  • Avoid unwanted pressure at the site where your pacemaker was implanted.
  • Allow eight weeks for your pacemaker to get firmly placed at the implanted site. Try to limit your arm movements during this time.

Precautions you need to take-

You need to take special precautions while handling the following electronic equipment-

  • Telephones- If a cellular phone is kept close to a pacemaker (if the phone is placed in a breast pocket), the pacemaker's function may be harmed. However, as long as the phone is kept at least 6 inches away from the pacemaker, there should be no issues.
  • Radiation therapy-A pacemaker's circuits can be damaged by the intense radiation utilized in cancer radiation therapy. Your pacemaker will need to be appropriately protected from the radiation field if you need radiation therapy.
  • Metal detector- Your pacemaker could set off a walk-through metal detector at an airport security checkpoint. Your pacemaker will not be affected by the metal detector. However, when you set off the metal detector, the security agent may use a hand-held scanner on you, which may be an issue. If the hand-held scanner is placed close to your pacemaker, it has a magnet that may interfere with it.
  • Magnet-Magnets, like cell phones, can interfere with a pacemaker if they are brought within 6 inches of it. Simply stay away from magnets if you have a pacemaker.
  • Airport security full-body scanners-Airport full-body scanners (machines that create an image of your body) do not appear to damage your pacemaker, but there is surprisingly little objective evidence on this matter.
  • Medical diagnostic procedures- Lithotripsy, which uses sound waves to treat gallstones or kidney stones; transcutaneous electrical nerve/muscle stimulators (TENS); electrocautery, which is used to control bleeding during surgery; and diathermy, which uses electromagnetic radiation or microwaves to heat tissues, can all affect pacemakers.

A pacemaker ID is a must-

Carry a card that informs healthcare staff about your pacemaker if you are unable to tell them about it. Keep it in your wallet, purse, or phone case so you can access it at all times. You can download a printable pacemaker ID card i.e easy to keep with you all the time.

Know your device thoroughly-

  • It’s always good to know about your pacemakers.
  • Once it is installed, you should attend a follow-up visit by an electrophysiologist. The functions of the pacemaker should be optimized according to the patient’s needs.
  • In many cases, the frequency is required once every 6 months unless there is any symptom.

When to consult your cardiologist?

As per our expert specializing in pacemaker implants, you should follow your doctor’s instructions after getting discharged from the hospital. However, you should stay in touch with your cardiologist if you feel-

  • Your heart is racing at a rate of more than a hundred beats per minute.
  • Your heart rate lowers to a level below what is considered normal.
  • Your heart rate rapidly accelerates.
  • Your pulse is fast and irregular (above 120 beats per minute)
  • Your heart rate has slowed unexpectedly.
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Started to gain weight and your ankles swell a lot.

Conclusion- A pacemaker can help you return to an active lifestyle by providing you with peace of mind. If you need a second opinion about the same, you can consult our experts at one of the best cardiac centers in Kolkata.