Dos and Don’ts with a Cardiac Pacemaker

A Cardiac Pacemaker is a device placed externally or internally to treat patients with irregular heartbeat. Naturally, the heart beats are controlled through electrical impulses from sinus node. A pacemaker is administered to the patients with ‘cardiac arrhythmia’ when this natural system fails and results in heart problems with too slow, too quick, or an abnormal heart beat pattern.

External pacemakers are generally deployed on temporary basis to control heartbeat pattern until the  installation of a permanent pacemaker. Permanent pacemakers are set into the body (chest) under the layer of skin and fat and just beneath the left collar bone of the patient, through a surgery. The modern versions come in size of a matchbox and weighs approximately 20-50 grams only. The components include  a pulse generator, a sensor, electronic circuits, a lithium battery, and one or more electrode leads.

Generally, after successful installation of a pacemaker, the patient can return to normal routine in about a week or so. They are safe and trouble-free. However there are some common dos and don’ts that one must take care of and they are: 

  • Patients with a permanent cardiac pacemaker should take regular check-ups to ensure that the device is working properly.
  • People having cardiac pacemaker installed in their body should not venture into contact sports like rugby and boxing, which may cause damage to the device.
  • Persons with pacemaker should avoid proximity with strong magnetic devices such as MRI scanner, or any other scanners before surgeries as magnetic rays can interfere with the pacemaker program.
  • If traveling, person with a cardiac pacemaker should inform the security staff/authorities about the pacemaker device in advance as it may get detected by the electric security system and may whistle a siren.
  • Even when getting checked with hand-held metal detector, the patients should ensure that they do not pass the detector direct over the device. Generally all cardiac pacemaker patients are provided with a International Pacemaker Patient Identification Cards, which you must carry along to avoid such situations.
  • Heart patients with a cardiac pacemaker installed should avoid diathermy (heat therapy) to treat muscles.
  • It is also advisable that patients should turn-off large motors , such as those in cars or boats, while performing repair or any other work on them as they may create problem in the device.   
  • In case of going through any surgical procedure by a surgeon or a dentist, let the doctor know about the device first. In some cases, the surgeon may need to turn-off the device before operation.

Above all, don’t work on presumptions. Always clear each and every doubt / confusion from your doctor lest you should put yourself in trouble.
Cardiac Pacemakers are safe and trouble-free. Proper care and regular check-ups can save the life of heart patients. A little care and caution in using cardiac pacemaker can improve the patient’s quality of life very much.

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permanent pacemaker

Prior to the fitment of the above I was a keen target shooter small bore rifle at my local range. However, the hospital staff said that I must not shoot again as there are inherent dangers such a damage to pacemaker itself or dislodgement the wires fitted. Prior to advising my shooting club of my intention to cease shooting I would just like to know if these precautions are still the norm or are there any other factors I should be aware of such as do the dangers deminish over time or is this simply a general across the board ruling that would be dangerous to disregard.

Re:

well i am not too sure about force of backfire.

however it depends mainly where the pacemaker has been implanted.
if its has been implanted on other side other than your shooting arm, the risk is quite small, especially if leads implanted  were screwd and not anchored  with finned tip.

Medical Team, Heart Consult

Re:

it has been a valuable article i didn't know about Cardiac Pacemaker device :)
MMA Forum

Hot tub use

I have a brother that is staying with us on vacation in Florida. He wears a pacemaker, and also has had Congestive heart failure in the past. His blood pressure usually runs low, and right now he is on antibiotics for broncitis. Please reply as soon as possible.. Thank you

Re: Hot tub use

A pacemaker is no contraindication for going in a hot tub.

However if he tends to generally have very low blood pressure i would not advise to bath in very hot water or go into sauna , since rise in temperature would cause vasodilation and hence further drop in blood pressure .

Medical Team, Heart Consult

I am 15, soon to be

I am 15, soon to be 16 and i have tachybradycardia syndrome. I am goin to Texas Childrens soon for further testing, but the Drs say that i will most likely have to get a pacemaker. My blood pressure also runs high. After i get a pacemaker will i still be able to play softball tennis and soccer as i did in the past or not?
 

Re:

Yes, you can. 

Regards, 

Medical Team, Heart Consult

Hot tubs no problem?

Hot tubs shouldn't cause any problems to those with a pacemaker should they? And the same with high blood pressure problems?

I'm sure I have read in the past that hot tubs are good for your health and as long as they are used in moderation for those with blood pressure problems it should be just fine shouldn't it?

Questions

I am 15, soon to be 16 and i have tachybradycardia syndrome. I am goin to Texas Childrens soon for further testing, but the Drs say that i will most likely have to get a pacemaker. My blood pressure also runs high. After i get a pacemaker will i still be able to play softball tennis and soccer as i did in the past or not?

Re:

after 2-3 months  sports is not a problem. 

Medical Team, Heart Consult

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