Medical and Dental Procedures
Some medical and dental procedures could damage or otherwise affect your pacemaker. Learn about these procedures below and be sure to always tell your dentist and physicians that you have an implanted device so that they can take the necessary precautions.
Procedures that Can Affect Your Pacemaker
The following medical and dental procedures can affect your pacemaker and/or injure you. If you must have any of these procedures, be sure to talk with your heart doctor and the doctor performing the procedure about what can be done to protect you and your device.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
An MRI is a diagnostic test that uses a powerful magnet and radio waves to produce images of the human body. You may be able to have an MRI scan if you have a Boston Scientific ImageReady MR Conditional pacing system. Talk to your physician about the capabilities of your particular device and leads.
If your system is not one of those eligible to be scanned or if the required conditions are not met, an MRI scan can severely damage your pacemaker or injure you and should not be performed. Your doctor must always confirm that both you and your pacing system are eligible and ready for an MRI in order for you to undergo this procedure.
Hospitals keep MRI equipment in rooms marked with signs that indicate magnets are inside. Do not go inside these rooms unless your physician has confirmed that you meet the requirements for an MRI scan.
Diathermy should not be performed as it uses an electrical field to apply heat to tissues in the body and could damage your device or injure you.
Electrocautery is used during surgical procedures to stop vessels from bleeding.
Electrolysis and Thermolysis
These dermatology or hair removal procedures pass electrical current into the skin. Talk with your heart doctor before having either of these treatments.
Typically used in medical emergencies, this procedure uses external equipment to deliver an electrical shock to your heart to restore a rapid and irregular heartrate to a normal rhythm. External defibrillation can affect your pacemaker, but can still be performed if necessary. Be sure to contact your physician as soon as possible if you receive external defibrillation to verify that your pacemaker is functioning properly.
Used to break up stones in the urinary tract, such as kidney stones, lithotripsy can damage your pacemaker if certain precautions are not taken.
Therapeutic Radiation Treatment for Cancer
This procedure for cancer can affect your device and will require special precautions. If you need radiation treatment, talk with your heart doctor and the doctor performing the procedure.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) Unit
This device prescribed by physicians or chiropractors to control chronic pain can affect your pacemaker.
Procedures that Will NOT Affect Your Pacemaker
Most medical and dental procedures will not affect your pacemaker. Some examples include:
- Dental drills and cleaning equipment
- Diagnostic X-rays
- Diagnostic ultrasound procedures
NOTE: Mammograms will not interfere with your pacemaker. However, your pacemaker could be damaged if it gets compressed in the mammogram machine. Make sure the doctor or technician knows you have an implanted device.
- EKG machines
- CT scans
Talk to Your Doctor
If you need to undergo any medical or surgical procedures, be sure to tell your dentist and/or doctor that you have a pacemaker system. They can contact the physician who monitors your device to find the best way to provide treatment.
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