Recovering From Your Pacemaker Procedure
Full recovery from pacemaker surgery can take a few days to a few months. You can find some general recovery tips below, but be sure to talk to your doctor about making lifestyle changes and resuming normal activities based on your specific situation.
Important to Know
- Avoid activities that involve heavy lifting or rough contact to give your lead(s) time to firmly attach to your heart tissue and allow your incision time to heal.
- 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 develop a fever that does not go away in two or three days.
- Carry your Medical Device ID Card with you at all times.
As you recover from pacemaker surgery, your device may allow you to return to an active lifestyle. But it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions, including:
- Tell your other doctors, dentists, and emergency personnel that you have an implanted device 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 device.
- Avoid rubbing your device or the surrounding chest area.
- Ask your doctor if it is safe for you to participate in activities that could endanger yourself or others if you lose consciousness, such as 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. Some general guidelines include:
- 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 where the device was implanted time to heal.
- Avoid rough contact that could result in blows to your implant site.
- Limit arm movements that could affect your lead system if directed by your doctor.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects until instructed by your doctor.
Medical Device ID Card
Whether you’re going away for the weekend or running a quick errand, it’s important to carry your Medical Device Identification Card with you at all times. In an emergency, the card will alert medical and security personnel that you have an implanted device. You will be given a temporary Medical Device ID Card when you receive your pacemaker and we’ll mail you a permanent card about six to eight weeks after your implant.
Your Medical Device ID Card contains your name, your doctor’s name and phone number, and the model numbers of your device and leads.
Moving or Selecting a New Doctor
If you move or select a new doctor, use our online patient portal or call us at 1-800-728-3282 to update your record and we will send you a new ID card reflecting the change.
Regular Follow-Up Visits
Follow-up visits will help your doctor program your pacemaker to best meet your individual needs. So it’s important to go to your follow-up visits, even if you’re feeling well.
A typical follow-up visit takes about 20 minutes. During your visit, your doctor or nurse will use a programmer to interrogate, or check, your device. They will review your device’s memory to evaluate its performance since your last visit. If necessary, they will adjust your device’s programmed settings. They will also check the battery to see how much energy is left.
When to Call Your Doctor
Your doctor will provide guidelines for when you should contact him or her. In general, call your doctor if you:
- Have a heart rate that drops below the minimum rate set for your pacemaker.
- Have symptoms of an abnormal heart rhythm and have been instructed to call.
- Notice any swelling, redness, or drainage from your incisions.
- Develop a fever that does not go away in two or three days.
- Have questions about your device, heart rhythm, or medications.
- Plan to travel or move away. Work with your doctor to develop a follow-up plan while you are away.
- Notice anything unusual or unexpected, such as new symptoms or symptoms like the ones you had before you received your device.
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.
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