Learn more about the dos and don’ts of living with a pacemaker.
If you’re dealing with an arrhythmia (an irregular heartbeat) or bradycardia (a slow pulse rate, typically below 60 beats per minute), you may have gotten a pacemaker, a device placed under the skin to correct abnormal heart rhythms through electrical signals. If you’ve just gotten a pacemaker or are about to get one, our Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands, cardiologist Dr. Ahmet Sayan can work with you to establish a new routine with your new device.
After Receiving Your Pacemaker
Since a pacemaker is placed directly under the skin, the implantation process only requires a minimally invasive surgery; however, our Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands team may recommend that you avoid certain activities or heavy lifting for a couple of weeks after getting your pacemaker. The incision site can take anywhere from two to three weeks to fully heal. Apart from that, you should be able to go about your normal routine without limitations.
Know Which Devices May Interfere with Your Pacemaker
While you may be concerned that your home appliances could impact your pacemaker, you don’t have to worry about things like your microwave; however, certain precautions should be taken to avoid interference from electromagnetic waves. Devices that could impact the function of your pacemaker include,
- Smartphones: make sure to keep your phone at least six inches away from your pacemaker)
- Magnets: also keep them at least six inches away)
- Metal detectors: while it won’t interfere with your pacemaker’s function, it will set off the machine; let people know that you have a pacemaker before entering a metal detector
- Anti-theft detectors: they can interfere with your pacemaker, so make sure to walk normally through these store detectors and do not pause or stop
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulators (TENS): this pain-relieving device often used by chiropractors may also impact your pacemaker (make sure to let your doctor know ahead of time that you have a pacemaker)
- Radiation therapy: If you require radiation therapy to treat cancer, this can damage the pacemaker, so make sure to let them know that you have a pacemaker that can shield the device from radiation.
- Chainsaws: while this might sound hard to believe, chainsaws and welding machines are far more powerful than home appliances and actually can impact the function of your pacemaker and should be avoided
If you have questions or concerns about your pacemaker, our St. Thomas and St. Croix, Virgin Islands cardiologist Dr. Sayan and the Virgin Islands Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine team are here to answer your questions and provide you with the information you need. Call (340) 776-1519 or (340) 712-6299.