Pacemaker placement is surgery to put a pacemaker in your chest. A pacemaker is a small, battery-powered device that sends electrical signals to the heart to keep the heartbeat steady. Thin wires, called leads, carry the signals from the pacemaker to the heart. A pacemaker can prevent or reduce dizziness, fainting, and shortness of breath caused by a slow or unsteady heartbeat.
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.
When you have a pacemaker, it is important to avoid electrical devices that can stop your pacemaker from working right. Check with your doctor about what you need to stay away from, what you need to use with care, and what is okay to use. You will need to stay away from things with strong magnetic and electrical fields such as an MRI machine (unless your pacemaker is safe for an MRI), welding equipment, and power generators. You can use a cell phone, but keep it at least 15 centimetres away from your pacemaker. You can safely use most household and office electronics such as kitchen appliances, electric power tools, 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: November 21, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & John M. Miller, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
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