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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 and Hot tubs

I am 30 years old and got a Dual lead pacemaker placed for my birthday. I have Sick Sinus Syndrome and have had symptoms for years but it wasnt detected until I had a 20 second pause in my heart rate. I was just wondering if it was still ok to go in the hot tub. I suffer from tension headaches and the hot tub always helped before. Is it safe????? Thank you

sports and pacemaker

Hi, what sports can i play with a pacemaker?

for example: non contact sport - Tennis - the ball might hit me in the chest and hit the pacemaker ( blunt force trauma)
no contact sport

can you suggest a non contact sport for me to play as i'm going insane cause i'm an athelete and i neeeeed to play some kinda sport!

Please help! thanks!


Is it alright to get my hair dyed at the salon? I have only had my pacemaker for three weeks, but with Christmas coming, I would like to get my hair done.


Hi, I'm 32 years old and within the next few days I will be having a pacemaker put in. With having s pulse in the low 40's Im very pale and what to know If I can still go tanning after having the pacemaker installed.

Thanks Vanessa from Ohio

pace maker

My boyfriend is 57yrs old and has had a pacemake with a difibulator he loved to use a welder in the past is this somethiing he can still do

working a labor intensive job with an implanted pacemaker

what should be my concerns, other than magnetic fields, chiefly with the implanted leads? Should I be concerned about the range of motion of my arms? My pacer(no defibrillator) was implanted in May of 2009 for bradycardia. I hardly ever think about the pacer unless I touch it, or when I'm having it checked on regular scheduled check-ups.


I need to know the effects of drinking wine and or beer. how much is acceptable..
also what can I eat to help keep my numbers between 2-3..what foods should I avoid. I really need some help here. Thanks.


I have a permanent pace maker and need to keep my numbers between 2-3. I need to know what to eat and what not to eat as my numbers are not staying in check. I drink 2-3 glasses of wine or have a beer. Please, maybe you can give me some guidelines..also what about nicotine...

pacemaker and swimming in cool pool water

Opening my pool and the water temp is only 68 degrees--is that a problem with a pacemaker??

Pacemaker choices

My father is having a pacemaker implanted.
Are their manufacturer choices./rankingshas one manufacturer proven more reliable than the others.
I can't seem to find a reliability ranking anywhere?
Any input is appreciated

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