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Heart Disease and Pacemakers

What Happens After the Pacemaker Is Implanted?

You will be admitted to the hospital overnight for the pacemaker implantation. The nurses will monitor your heart rate and rhythm. The morning after your implant, you will have a chest X-ray to ensure the leads and pacemaker are in the proper position.

You will be shown how to care for your wound. Keep your wound clean and dry. After five days, you may take a shower. Look at your wound every day to make sure it is healing. Call your doctor if you notice:

  • Increased drainage, bleeding, or oozing from the insertion site
  • Increased opening of the incision
  • Redness around the site
  • Warmth along the site
  • Increased body temperature (fever or chills)

Your pacemaker settings will be checked before you leave the hospital.

You will receive a temporary ID card that tells you:

  • The type of pacemaker and leads you have
  • The date of the pacemaker implant
  • The name of the doctor who implanted the pacemaker

Within three months, you will receive a permanent card from the pacemaker company. CARRY THIS CARD WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES in case you need medical attention at another hospital.

Will I Be Able to Move Around After the Procedure?

  • You may move your arm normally after getting your pacemaker.
  • Do not lift objects that weigh more than 10 pounds.
  • Do not hold your arms above shoulder level for three weeks.
  • Avoid activities that require pushing or pulling heavy objects, such as shoveling the snow or mowing the lawn.
  • Stop any activity before you become overtired.
  • For six weeks after the procedure, avoid golfing, tennis, and swimming.
  • Try to walk as much as possible for exercise.
  • Ask your doctor when you can resume more strenuous activities.
  • Your doctor will tell you when you can go back to work, usually within a week after you go home. If you have the flexibility at your job, ease back to your regular work schedule.

Should I Avoid Certain Electrical Devices if I Have a Pacemaker?

  • Electric blankets, heating pads, and microwave ovens can be used and will not interfere with the function of your pacemaker.
  • A cell phone should be used on the side opposite of where the pacemaker was implanted.
  • Cell phones should not be placed directly against the chest or on the same side as your pacemaker.
  • You will need to avoid strong electric or magnetic fields, such as: some industrial equipment; ham radios; high intensity radio waves (found near large electrical generators, power plants, or radio frequency transmission towers); and arc resistance welders.
  • Do not undergo any tests that require magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
  • Your doctor or nurse can provide more information about what types of equipment may interfere with your pacemaker.

If you have concerns about your job or activities, ask your doctor.

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