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Dos and Don’ts with a Cardiac Pacemaker

07 Aug 2010
Posted by mukesh

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.



Pacemaker Question

Is it okay for a person with a pacemaker to play slot machines at a casino?


No problem at all. 

Medical Team, Heart Consult

pacemaker and walk in tub with jets

My mom is visiting from texas and I have a jetted walk in tub that mantains water temp. Is it okay for her to use?



why should there be a problem? does she have any serious cardiac problem?
Even if she has a cardiac disease, if she is stable there is no restriction.
Medical Team, Heart Consult

Pacemaker and working with children with behavioural problems.

Hi, I was wondering if I would be at risk in my job as a teacher of children with behavioural problems whilst being the proud owner of a pacemaker?!! I no longer perform positive handling, (restraints), on the children but am being moved to a class in September where the children are more disruptive, e.g. throwing chairs across the classroom, pushing each other and sometimes staff. My headteacher wants me to attend an occupational health meeting in order to access the risks but I am worried that the occupational health people may say it's too high a risk and want to redeploy me elsewhere. I personally don't feeling particularly at risk and I'm pretty sure it would take a very heavy blow to the pacemaker to cause any damage. Would I be right? Thanks in advance for your reply.


The pacemaker will be no hindrance for your job.


Medical Team, Heart Consult


My father has just had a replacement permanent pacemaker fitted 3 days ago and is very worried as it has recorded a heart beat of just 47 over the last 2 days in the evening. On the last one, he normally has it set at 72 beats. In the 7 day period when he did not have a pacemaker at all, he recorded heartbeats of 40-60 over night and 60-70 during the day (bit erratic). Why are the doctors letting the pacemaker record such low heart beats (47) can they not set it to 72?

Re: Pacemaker

It depends.

If your father has permanently low heart rate due to permanent conduction disturbance then a higher rate has to be programmed.
However if he just occasionally  has conduction disturbance ( e.g intermittent AV block), the pacemaker should just be programmed for low heart rate for prevention of syncope ( like in your father's case, I assume). 
Best Regards 
Medical Team, Heart Consult


I was fitted with a pacemaker last week. May I continue flying radio controled helicopters.

pacemaker and electrical appliance distance


What should be the distance between a pacemaker patient and any electrical appliance like Air Condition, TV in a room?

Thank you

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