Living with a Pacemaker
Cardiac specialists may decide that living with a pacemaker may help regulate arrhythmia or a patient’s abnormal heartbeat. The device, which is implanted in a patient’s chest, sends electrical signals to heart to normalize the rhythm. Patients may notice a difference almost immediately once a pacemaker has been inserted.
How doctors know a pacemaker is working properly.
The specialists at Lakewood ASC monitor a patient’s pacemaker regularly by meeting with a patient in the medical office or remotely using a telephone or web-based system. A receiver implanted in the device transmits information including,
- Heart rhythm type,
- How pacemaker leads ((the wires that carry the electrical impulses from the pacemaker’s generator to the heart muscle) function.
- How frequently the pacemaker is engaged to regulate the heartbeat,
- The pacemaker’s battery life.
How electromagnetic interference can affect a pacemaker.
While people living with pacemakers can generally live a normal life, the Lakewood ASC medical team wants patients to be aware of electromagnetic energy, which can interfere with the device’s operations. Electromagnetic interference (EMI) is caused by signals that are generated by other sources.
Airport metal detectors: Metal detectors emit EMI which can potentially interfere with pacemakers, although it is not common. It’s advised to always carry an identification card to show to airport personnel so that a manual search can be done. The staff at Lakewood ASC can direct you on how to obtain the ID card.
Anti-theft systems – Electromagnet anti-theft security systems, which located in or near the workplace, in stores, courthouses or other places with high-security, likely will not significantly affect a patient’s pacemaker, but medical experts recommend being aware of the location of the anti-theft systems and to move through them at a normal pace. Do not stand too close.
Household appliances: There is no need to take special precautions when around normally functioning common household appliances, according to pacemaker manufacturers. Those common appliances include a microwave, television, radio, toaster or electric blanket.
Certain medical procedures – Certain types of diagnostic or therapeutic procedures may interfere with pacemakers. These include any surgery that uses electrocautery, extracorporeal shock wave therapy to break up gallstones and kidney stones, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), radiation for cancer or tumors, or transcutaneous electrical nerve/muscle stimulators (TENS) which is used for pain control.
It’s important to let your other healthcare providers, including doctors, dentists, chiropractor, physical therapist, etc., know if you have a pacemaker so they can consider alternative treatments.