What Are Artificial Pacemakers?

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Frequently Asked Questions

What about the future?

Once your pacemaker has been implanted, you are likely to require annual checks to  ensure that it is working correctly and that the battery life is good. As the battery approaches its end of life, the hospital personnel will recommend a change of the pulse generator.  The leads do not need to be changed. There are rare cases when both the pulse generator and the leads need to be changed.

Below are some questions that patients ask us after they have pacemakers implanted.

How long does the battery last?

The battery life of most pacemakers  ranges between 5 to 10 years. This is constantly monitored by a hospital personnel.

Can I participate in sports and similar activities?

If you are an active individual who participate in sporting activities, you may be reassured to know that pacemakers do not interfere with your daily activities. If you wish to participate in athletic activities or aerobic activity such as running, swimming  and cycling (after getting the all clear from your doctor), then you can do so.

What about sexual activity?

Once the pacemaker wound has healed and the initial checks have confirmed the pacemaker to be working properly, there should be no problem re-commencing normal sexual activity.

What happens after death?

If an individual with a pacemaker is terminally ill  or has  died, the cells within the heart muscle can no longer conduct the electricity that is generated by the pacemaker. Consequently, a working pacemaker will not generate heart contractions. In such a situation,  the it will be switched off or deactivated. Contrary to popular belief, pacemakers do not prolong life if a patient is terminally ill.

There may be rare cases when patients are so ill that having a working pacemaker may be prolonging their  suffering. Doctors may discuss turning off the the device with family members and the patient if such a situation arises.

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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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