What is a pacemaker?
What about Follow-up care? What should I expect at a routine follow-up?
How long do pacemakers last?
What can I do after a pacemaker?
What should I avoid?
What should I do if I feel lightheaded or have palpitations while using an appliance?
What about cell phones?
Can I fly with a pacemaker?


What is a pacemaker?

A small implantable device placed either on the right or left upper part of the chest. It is to help regulate the heart rate from going to slow. The leads are thin wires inserted though a vein that connect the pacemaker to the heart.

What about Follow-up care?

Routine follow-ups are every 3-4 months, depending on the battery life and doctor preference. Follow-up appointments are important in helping maintain heart rhythm and longevity of the battery.

What should I expect at a routine follow-up?

A routine appointment lasts approximately 15 minutes. The appointment may become extended depending on any issues that need to be addressed (change in heart rhythm, battery voltage, or change in leads.) A routine appointment consists of: Electrocardiogram with and without a magnet. Detailed evaluation of the pacemaker’s performance. (This information is necessary for adjusting the pacemaker’s settings for your needs.)

How long do pacemakers last?

Generally pacemakers need to be replaced every 5-7 years Normally pacemakers are very dependable and give ample notice when the battery is approaching elective replacement. The patient should have 2-3 months notice for a replacement once the pacemaker has reached an elective replacement stage.

What can I do after a pacemaker?

Once the pacemaker site has healed, pacemaker patients are free to continue the same level of activity as they had prior to the pacemaker. With physician’s permission this would include: swimming, golf, running, etc. Often times pacemaker patients feel so much better that they are able to live a more active lifestyle than they did before with less effort due to a better heart rate.

What should I avoid?

MRI procedures Do not use anything that is magnetic – this may briefly interfere with proper pacemaker function. Using electric ARC Welders or working on automobile ignition systems will not damage pacemakers, however there is a possibility they may briefly interfere with proper pacemaker operation.

**Properly operative household appliance, such as microwave ovens, electric blankets and most power tools should not interfere with the pacemakers operations.**

What should I do if I feel lightheaded or have palpitations while using an appliance?

Turn off the equipment or simply walk away from it and normal pacemaker operation should resume.

What about cell phones?

As a precaution hold the phone to the ear on the opposite side of the pacemaker. Do not carry the phone in a shirt pocket which is over or near the pacemaker.

Can I fly with a pacemaker?

Going through security at the airport – There should be no interference to walk through the metal detectors. If the alarm does sound, simply show the security personnel the pacemaker ID card. Pacemaker patients may travel without restrictions.

Any further questions, please contact the Pacemaker Clinic at 586-468-7994.