Living with a Permanent Pacemaker: Dos and Don’ts

Jan 18, 2024
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Getting a pacemaker is a big deal, especially after the procedure. Many things change with a pacemaker, so keep reading to discover the dos and don'ts of living when you have a permanent pacemaker.

A pacemaker is an essential piece of equipment that helps regulate your heartbeat during an arrhythmia. However, knowing you need a pacemaker may be a big deal, especially considering how your life may change.

There will be some things you can and can't do after getting a pacemaker, and it's essential to know the dos and don'ts before going in for the procedure.

At the Heart Clinic of Hammond, our team guides you every step of the way for a pacemaker. Dr. Ghiath Mikdadi and Dr. Farid Zayed are our two board-certified cardiologists who offer various heart services, including permanent pacemaker insertion.

What is a pacemaker?

A pacemaker is a medical device doctors use to treat arrhythmias in the heart. An arrhythmia can cause your heart to beat irregularly, too fast, or slow. These arrhythmias make it difficult for your heart to pump blood throughout the body efficiently.

You may also need a pacemaker if you have heart failure. It can help the chambers of your heart beat together, allowing it to pump adequate amounts of blood to the organs and tissues in the body.

Consisting of a pulse generator and electrodes, pacemakers can be short-term or long-term, depending on why you need them. When the pulse generator senses your heart is beating irregularly or too slowly, it emits electrical impulses, which allow it to beat regularly.

Dos of pacemaker living

Having a pacemaker means a few changes in your life. Still, you can also do a lot with a pacemaker insertion. Our team gives you all the information you need after a pacemaker insertion, including the things you can do, which are:

Obtain a medical device ID card

After a permanent pacemaker insertion, getting a medical ID card with information about your pacemaker and where the pacemaker is in the body is essential.

Take your medications as prescribed

Ensure you continue taking your regular medications before and after the procedure. If we need you to stop one beforehand, our team lets you know before inserting the pacemaker.

Call if you have signs of an infection

Infection is one of the complications related to a pacemaker insertion. Call us immediately if you experience symptoms like redness, warmth, or pain around the site.

Eat and drink as normal

You can eat and drink as you usually would after a pacemaker insertion, except alcohol right after surgery. We review any specific restrictions you may have before you undergo the procedure.

Call if you have any side effects

If you experience any side effects of the pacemaker not working, call us immediately to prevent dangerous consequences. Symptoms such as dizziness, chest pain, or swollen ankles are all signs the pacemaker may not be working correctly.

What not to do with a pacemaker

Just like there are things you can do with a pacemaker, there are also some situations you should avoid. Here are a few don'ts when it comes to living with a permanent pacemaker:

Get near devices that interfere with the pacemaker

After getting a pacemaker, you must avoid particular objects with a magnetic field. These objects can interfere with the pacemaker close to the insertion site.

Objects you should keep away from your new pacemaker include electronic cigarettes, cell phones, headphones, and electric blankets. You should also show your medical ID card at the airport or anywhere there may be a metal detector.

Lift heavy objects

Only lift heavy objects like your kids, animals, or weights once we clear you. It's essential to avoid raising the arm on the side of the pacemaker to prevent complications.

Do strenuous physical activity

After a pacemaker insertion, staying away from strenuous exercise or activity is crucial until we clear you. Too much stress around the insertion site may cause complications to the incision or the pacemaker.

Get the incision site wet

Make sure to keep the pacemaker insertion site clean and dry. Getting the incision wet could delay healing and cause complications like an infection.

Wear tight clothing over the incision

Wear loose clothing after getting a pacemaker to avoid irritating the skin and incision. You can wear whatever you want after the incision heals and wear tighter clothing comfortably.

If you're living with an arrhythmia or heart failure, don't hesitate to call the Heart Clinic of Hammond today to schedule a consultation or request an appointment on the website.