Pacemaker Implantation

Care After

ExitCare ImageRefer to this sheet over the next few weeks. These instructions provide you with information on caring for the pacemaker after implantation. Your caregiver may also give you more specific instructions. Your treatment has been planned according to current medical practices, but problems sometimes occur. Call your caregiver if you have any problems or questions regarding your pacemaker.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Always carry your pacemaker identification card with you. The card should list the implant date, device model, and manufacturer.

  • Keep the incision site dry for 2–3 days after the procedure or as told by your caregiver. It takes several weeks for the incision to completely heal.

  • Do not raise your upper arms above your shoulders for a week after the procedure or as told by your caregiver.

  • Avoid sudden jerking, pulling, or chopping movements that pull your arms away from your body for 6 weeks or as told by your caregiver. For example, do not play golf for 6 weeks or as told by your caregiver.

  • Take medicine as told by your caregiver.

  • Wear a medical alert bracelet.

  • Learn how to check your pulse. Follow directions about when to call for help or be concerned.

  • Exercise as told by your caregiver.

  • You may travel by airplane. Tell security you have a pacemaker before going through a metal detector.

  • Avoid strong electromagnetic fields. You may not be able to have an MRI scan because of the strong magnets used during that test.

  • Do not place pressure over the area where the pacermaker is.

  • When using your cell phone, hold it to the ear opposite of the pacemaker. Do not leave your cell phone in a pocket over the pacemaker.

  • Have your pacemaker checked every 3–6 months or as directed by your caregiver. There is a battery within the generater that lasts about 5 years. Most pacemakers do not give a warning signal when the battery is running low on power.

Pacemaker Information

  • Changing the battery means removing the old generator through the original incision site and plugging the existing wires into a new generator.

  • Electrocardiography and heart rhythm monitoring may be done to see if your pacemaker is working properly.

  • Some pacemakers come with a home monitoring system that provides your caregiver with an ongoing status of your pacemaker and alerts your caregiver if there is a problem.

  • Home appliances do not interfere with your pacemaker.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You have swelling of the arm that is on the same side as the pacemaker.

  • You have any type of drainage coming from the pacemaker incision site.

  • You have skin redness or warmth over the pacemaker insertion site.

  • You have dizzy spells, feel weak, faint, or pass out.

  • You have chest pain or shortness of breath.

  • You were physically injured and think your pacemaker may have been damaged.

  • You feel your heart skipping beats or beating irregularly.

  • You are suddenly very tired or have pain in your upper back.