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What can I expect before my pacemaker procedure?

When you arrive, here’s what will happen:
  • You will fill out some paperwork and change into a hospital gown.
  • An IV (intravenous) line may be placed in your arm or hand. You’ll be given medication through the IV to make you feel relaxed and drowsy.
  • Blood might be drawn for lab tests.
  • The left or right side of your chest will be shaved, if necessary, and cleaned. (The site for the signal generator is below the collarbone, and is usually on the side opposite your dominant hand.)
  • You’ll be moved to the cardiac cath lab. The room may feel cool, but you will be covered with sterile drapes. You can also ask for a blanket.
  • You’ll lie on your back. Your arms will be secured at your sides, because it is important for your arms to be still during the procedure.
  • Your face may be covered with the draping during the procedure. The staff will try to make you as comfortable as possible.
The following are the things you need to know before a pacemaker insertion procedure:
  • Your physician will explain the procedure to you and offer you the opportunity to ask any questions that you might have about the procedure.
  • You will be asked to sign a consent form that gives your permission to do the test. Read the form carefully and ask questions if something is not clear.
  • Notify your physician if you are sensitive to or are allergic to any medications, iodine, latex, tape, or anesthetic agents (local and general).
  • You will need to fast for a certain period of time prior to the procedure. Your physician will notify you how long to fast, usually overnight.
  • If you are pregnant or suspect that you are pregnant, you should notify your physician.
  • Notify your physician of all medications (prescription and over-the-counter) and herbal or other supplements that you are taking.
  • Notify your physician if you have heart valve disease, as you may need to receive an antibiotic prior to the procedure.
  • Notify your physician if you have a history of bleeding disorders or if you are taking any anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medications, aspirin, or other medications that affect blood clotting. It may be necessary for you to stop some of these medications prior to the procedure.
  • Your physician may request a blood test prior to the procedure to determine how long it takes your blood to clot. Other blood tests may be done as well.
  • You may receive a sedative prior to the procedure to help you relax. If a sedative is given, you will need someone to drive you home afterwards.
  • The upper chest may be shaved or clipped prior to the procedure.
  • Based upon your medical condition, your physician may request other specific preparation.

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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.