Adjusting to Life With a Pacemaker

Adjusting to Life With a Pacemaker

You’ve been told that your heart isn’t keeping a steady rhythm, and that the best way to remedy the problem is with a pacemaker. Up to three million people in the United States are living with a pacemaker, and most have found that, while there are some adjustments to make, the peace of mind that comes with a steadier heart rhythm eclipses any inconveniences.

Here at South Shore Cardiovascular Associates, our team of heart health experts understands the invaluable role that a pacemaker has in helping to maintain a healthy heart rhythm. This simple device ensures that your heart beats rhythmically and steadily — neither too fast or too slow — to keep serious cardiovascular issues at bay.

If we recommend this approach for your arrhythmia or electrical block, here’s what you should know about living with a pacemaker.

Immediately after your pacemaker implantation

When performing the procedure, we usually use minimally invasive techniques to implant the electrodes and tiny pulse generator. This should allow for a quicker recovery time and less scarring.

Before leaving the hospital, we’ll ensure that the device is programmed properly. We’ll also provide you with complete aftercare instructions.

When you get home, you’ll need to take it easy for a few weeks. This will mean no strenuous exercise, especially heavy lifting. You’ll also need to keep the incision site clean and friction-free so that it will heal quickly. You should be able to shower and bathe within 2-3 days of your surgery.

Once we give you the green light, you’ll be free to get back to your normal routine — and even more than your normal routine — since your pacemaker will be looking after your heart’s rhythm.

Considerations when you have a pacemaker

Having a pacemaker shouldn’t change your everyday life all that much. You’ll see us more regularly so we can make sure the pacemaker is doing its job, but these visits should be quick

When you get your pacemaker, we’ll provide you with an ID card so you can alert people to the existence of your pacemaker. You’ll need to carry this card at all times, and you’ll need to display it under certain circumstances. For example, if you’re traveling through an airport, you’ll need to show the card to security personnel so they can use the right equipment to screen you.

If another medical provider recommends an MRI, you’ll need to alert them to your pacemaker using your card, as this type of diagnostic imaging isn’t appropriate for people with this device. Outside of security screenings and magnetic imaging, you’ll need to steer clear of anything that you know has magnets.

You’ll also need to make sure to take the medications we prescribe, because your medications will work together with your pacemaker to improve your cardiovascular function.

When it comes to being active, we know that exercise can help you maintain your cardiovascular and overall health. So we’ll be happy to sit down with you and come up with a good plan moving forward.

Be on the lookout

As you enjoy life with your pacemaker, you’ll need to be aware of warning signs that there could be issues with your heart, pacemaker, or something related. These warning signs include:

If you experience any of these symptoms, please notify us right away.

If you have more questions about what to expect after we implant your pacemaker, you can schedule a consultation by phone or online with one of our offices. We have convenient locations in Brandon, Riverview, Tampa, and Sun City Center, Florida.

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