How will having a pacemaker affect my daily life?

Along with a better heartbeat, a pacemaker brings a few other changes to your  life. Follow these guidelines to help your  pacemaker work safely and effectively.

Let people know:

  • Carry your ID card at all times. Your ID will give healthcare providers important information in an emergency. It will also be helpful if the pacemaker sets off an alarm.
  • Tell healthcare providers that you have a pacemaker before any procedures that involve needles or incisions (cuts).
  • Tell your dentist. Your dentist can avoid using devices that produce electromagnetic fields that can interfere with the device.

Protect the pulse generator by following these guidelines:

  • Avoid letting anything hit or rub the device. Be careful about contact sports or other activities that may jar the pulse generator under your skin.
  • Avoid strong electromagnetic fields. Stay away from: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment, arc welding equipment, industrial equipment, induction furnaces, high-intensity power lines or radio towers, combustion motors -- don’t lean over the hood of a running car, or touch the spark plug or distributor on a running car or lawn mower, radio transmitters, such as CB radios, ham radios, or antennas used to control toys.
  • Don’t linger around anti-theft detection devices at store or building entrances. Walk through them at a normal pace.
  • Be careful with your cell phone or MP3 player. Keep it 6 to 12 inches away from the pacemaker. Hold the cell phone against the opposite ear, and don’t keep the phone or player in your shirt pocket.
  • Computers and small household appliances are safe as long as they are in good working order.
  • Airport screening is safe. Screening devices may set off an alarm, but they won’t harm the device. If you set off an alarm, show your device ID. Ask them not to search you with the hand-held screening wand, since it contains a magnet.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.