What Are Artificial Pacemakers?

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Precautions to Take

If you have had a pacemaker inserted, it is essential take certain precautions to prevent damage to the pacemaker. Some of the commonly advised to precautions include –

 1. Inform security at airports that you have a pacemaker

Sometimes,when going through security checks at the airport, it is possible that the pacemaker triggers the alarm system.

In order to avoid any confusion and apprehension, always carry some form of an identification card that describes the type of device you have implanted under the skin.

This would have been provided to you when being discharged from hospital after pacemaker implantation. When the security personnel are using a handheld metal detector as a part of their search, request them not to hover the device over your pacemaker for too long.

2. Avoid placing cellphones nearby

If you are of the habit of placing your cellphone in your shirt pocket, make sure you do not do so after you had a pacemaker implanted.

While it is uncommon  for cellphones to interfere with pacemaker signals, it is possible for it to happen and the circumstance is best avoided completely.

Cellphone signals can sometimes interfere with how the pacemaker works and may withhold the generation of electrical signals within the pacemaker. This can in turn reduce the heart rate and may lead to the development of symptoms.

Prevent any problems by keeping your cell phone at least 6 inches away from your pacemaker.

3. Inform any doctor you see that you have a pacemaker

Sometimes, doctors may arrange certain investigations  such as an MRI scan or shock treatment which can interfere with the function of pacemakers. These days, MRI safe pacemakers are available but are not implanted for most patients due to the higher cost.

4. Avoid working near high-voltage equipment

High-voltage equipment such as transformers and generators can sometimes affect the functioning of your pacemaker. It is recommended that you stand at least 2 to 3 feet away from these.

5. Avoid keeping headphones close by

The headphones used for MP3 players contain a magnetic material within them that can interfere with the functioning of pacemakers. It is recommended that they be placed at least 3 cm away the device. Wearing headphones to listen to music will not affect the pacemaker.

6. Avoid contact sports

A short while after pacemaker implantation, patients can restart their normal exercise and physical activity. However, it is recommended they refrain from participating in contact sports as a direct hit to the chest can dislodge the pacemaker.

**Note: Devices such as the television, microwave oven, electric shavers, drills and radios do not interfere with pacemaker function

Dr Vivek Baliga B

Dr Vivek Baliga B

Consultant Internal Medicine at Baliga Diagnostics Pvt Ltd
Dr Baliga is a consultant in Internal Medicine with an interest in diabetes and cardiovascular disease. He received his training in the United Kingdom where he completed his post graduate training and his doctorate. He then completed his MBA from University of Phoenix, USA. He has completed the post graduate program in Cardiology from Johns Hopkins University and participated in the Advanced Certificate Course in Diabetes from the Cleveland Clinic, USA. He is the managing partner of Baliga Diagnostics, Bangalore. He is also the founder of HeartSense and is a keen advocate of patient empowerment, having written almost every article on this website and more. In his spare time, he enjoys running and spending time with his son. Find Dr Vivek Baliga on LinkedIn here - http://heartsense.in/linkedin.
Dr Vivek Baliga B

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