Pacemaker Precautions


A pacemaker is implanted when your heart does not beat fast enough or there is difficulty with electrical signals that elicit heart beats. A pacemaker is made of a generator that has a power source and a timer that controls how often the pacemaker emits electrical signals. When a pacemaker is inserted, certain precautions must be taken.

Pacemaker x-ray
Pacemaker x-ray (Image: Fodor90/iStock/Getty Images)

Taking Care

The American Heart Association warns not to be put any pressure over the area of your chest where the pacemaker was implanted. The organization also advises that certain devices such as electric drills, electric blankets, electric shavers, heating pads, metal detectors, microwave ovens and remote controls have a slight chance of causing interference by periodically skipping a single beat. However, these devices will not cause any permanent damage to pacemakers.

If you work around power-generating machinery, arc welding equipment or powerful magnets, be advised that pacemakers may not function correctly in these types of work settings.

EKG in surgery room
EKG in surgery room (Image: Andrei Malov/iStock/Getty Images)

Airport Security

Be careful when going through airport security. Since the pacemaker is made of metal, it can trigger the airport metal detector, so make sure you have your pacemaker card handy. Prior to going through security, explain to security personnel that you have a pacemaker in order to have special arrangements made. The metal detector will not cause any damage to the pacemaker.

Airport security line
Airport security line (Image: Rrrainbow/iStock/Getty Images)

Medical Precautions

When having a medical procedure, alert the health care professional that you have a pacemaker as some medical devices can seriously interfere with the settings of a pacemaker. While X-rays will not impact a pacemaker, therapeutic radiation can cause havoc with the circuits inside a pacemaker. The American Heart Association suggests that pacemakers be protected as much as possible and moved out of the way of direct radiation.

Carry your pacemaker card with you at all times. Consult your physician if you experience serious pain around the area of your pacemaker, have trouble breathing or feel dizzy. See your physician as scheduled to make sure your pacemaker is working properly and to check the battery life.

Woman talking with physician
Woman talking with physician (Image: Alexander Raths/iStock/Getty Images)

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