Recovering From Your Pacemaker Procedure
You will probably stay in the hospital for a day after having your new pacemaker is implanted. Sometimes, the procedure is so quick that people don’t need to stay overnight. Your doctor will program the pacemaker to match your specific pacing needs before you go home.
It can take a few days to a few months to fully recover from the procedure. You can find some general tips below. But be sure to talk to your doctor about making lifestyle changes and going back to your usual activities.
Important to Know
- Take a break from heavy lifting or rough contact.
- Call your doctor if you have any swelling, redness or discharge around your incision, your heart rate drops below the minimum set for your pacemaker or you have a fever longer than two or three days.
- Carry your Medical Device ID Card with you at all times.
As you recover from your procedure, your pacemaker may allow you to return to an active lifestyle. But it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions, including:
- Tell all of your doctors, dentists and emergency workers that you have a pacemaker and show them your Medical Device ID Card.
- Walk, exercise and bathe according to your doctor’s instructions.
- Don’t wear tight clothing that could irritate the skin over your implant.
- Avoid rubbing your implant or the surrounding chest area.
- Ask your doctor if it is safe for you to do activities that could hurt your or others if you lose consciousness, like driving, swimming alone or climbing a ladder.
- Continue taking medications as instructed by your doctor.
- Avoid supporting your weight with your arms during sexual activity while your incision is healing.
Activities and Exercise
Your doctor will help you decide what level of activity is best for you in the short-term.
Some general guidelines are:
- Avoid strenuous activity, especially lifting and other activities that use your upper body. This gives the lead(s) time to firmly attach to your heart tissue and allows the incision time to heal.
- Avoid rough contact that could result in a blow to your implant site.
- Limit certain arm movements if your doctor tells you to.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects until your doctor tells you it is OK.
Medical Device ID Card
It’s important to carry your Medical Device Identification Card with you at all times. This includes going away for the weekend or just running a quick errand,. In an emergency, the card will let medical and security workers that you have a pacemaker.
- You will get a temporary Medical Device ID Card when you get your pacemaker.
- We will mail you a permanent card about six to eight weeks after your implant.
Your Medical Device ID Card has your name, your doctor’s name and phone number, and the model numbers of your pacemaker and leads.
Moving or Selecting a New Doctor
Please tell us if you move or get a new doctor. You can use our online patient portal or call us at 1-800-728-3282 to update your record. We will send you a new ID card.
Regular Follow-Up Visits
Many pacemakers can be checked by the doctor’s office remotely using wireless technology. This allows your doctor to access data about your heart rate and rhythm, how your pacemaker is working, adjust settings if necessary and check its battery life.
Remote technology may mean fewer trips to the doctor. But you’ll still need to be seen in person for follow-up visits so your doctor can adjust your pacemaker to best meet your needs. A typical follow-up visit takes about 20 minutes.
When to Call Your Doctor
Your doctor will give you guidelines about when you should call. Here are some general tips on when to call your doctor. Call if you:
- Have a heart rate that drops below the lowest rate set for your pacemaker
- Have symptoms of an abnormal heart rhythm and have been told to call
- Notice swelling, redness or drainage from your incisions
- Have a fever longer than two or three days
- Have questions about your device, heart rhythm or medications
- Plan to travel or move so you can form a care plan for while you are away
- Notice anything unusual or unexpected, like new symptoms or symptoms you had before your pacemaker
Resources and Support
We're Here to Help
Our patient support team is happy to help answer all your questions about living with your device.
Hours: M-F 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Central