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A pacemaker for heart failure is a biventricular pacemaker (say "by-ven-TRICK-yuh-ler"). Treatment that uses this type of pacemaker is called cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT).
When you have heart failure, the lower chambers of your heart may not pump at the same time. The pacemaker sends painless electrical signals to your heart. These signals make the chambers pump at the same time. This can help your heart pump blood better and help you feel better.
Your pacemaker may be combined with an ICD, or implantable cardioverter-defibrillator. It can control abnormal heart rhythms. This can prevent sudden death.
Your chest may be sore where the doctor made the cut (incision) and put in the pacemaker. You also may have a bruise and mild swelling. These symptoms usually get better in 1 to 2 weeks. You may feel a hard ridge along the incision. This usually gets softer in the months after surgery. You may be able to see or feel the outline of the pacemaker under your skin.
You will probably be able to go back to work or your usual routine 1 to 2 weeks after surgery.
Pacemaker batteries usually last 5 to 15 years. Your doctor will talk to you about how often you will need to have your pacemaker checked.
You'll need to take steps to safely use electric devices. Some of these devices can stop your pacemaker from working right for a short time. Check with your doctor about what to avoid and what to keep a short distance away from your pacemaker. For example, you will need to stay away from things with strong magnetic and electrical fields. An example is an MRI machine (unless your pacemaker is safe for an MRI). You can use a cell phone and other wireless devices but keep them at least 15 centimetres away from your pacemaker. Many household and office electronics do not affect a pacemaker. These include kitchen appliances and computers.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: December 16, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & George Philippides MD - Cardiology
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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