General instructions after the implantation of a pacemaker, defibrillator, or cardiac resynchronization therapy (BiV) device:
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER THE PROCEDURE
Pain at the site of incision may persist after procedure. This should gradually improve over the course of the next 1-2 weeks.
The arm on the side of the procedure will be placed in a sling. This is to protect you and your device and should be used for the next 1-2 weeks.
- Remove the outer bandages over the incision site as instructed by the hospital staff.
- Keep your incision dry for at least 7 days. We recommend avoiding showers and instead doing sponge baths.
- Do not apply any ointment, powder, or lotion to the incision.
- After the procedure you may have either tape strips, medical glue, or staples on the incision. Do not attempt to remove them. They will be removed at your two-week follow-up visit. The strips and the glue will come off on their own.
You should gradually return to your normal activities.
For the first 1-2 weeks:
-Do not get the surgical wound wet (see above)
-Keep arm in sling
For the first 4-6 weeks:
-Do not lift more than 10 pounds
-Do not perform heavy exertional activities
-Do not raise your device side arm above your shoulder
Always avoid any contact sports or hard blows to the chest or abdomen.
Ask your doctor when you can return to work.
Ask your doctor when you can resume driving after the procedure. Most patients will not be allowed to drive for about 2-4 weeks after the procedure. The timing will vary based on the type of procedure you had, the reason for the procedure, and the type of vehicle you drive.
You may resume your previous diet.
You will be restarted on most of your medications that you were on previous to the procedure. Follow any changes to your medications as described by the doctor after the procedure.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET A SHOCK OR PASS OUT (DEFIBRILLATORS ONLY)
If you get a shock one time and feel normal afterwards, make an appointment to see your doctor.
If you get a shock more than once over a few minutes or if you do not feel normal after one shock, call 911 and notify your doctor.
MAGNETS AND ELECTROMAGNETIC INTERFERENCE
Some devices or equipment that you encounter send out electrical signals that can:
-Cause you to get a shock (defibrillators only)
-Prevent your defibrillator from detecting life-threatening rhythm abnormalities
-Prevent your pacemaker from working properly
You must avoid:
-Airport magnet security wands
-Diathermy or other heat treatments
-Arc or resistance welding
-Electrical power generator plants
-Electric cautery that is used for surgical procedures
-MRI scans (unless you speak with your implanting EP physician)
-Radio or television transmitting towers
-You must stay at arm’s length from magnets of any kind.
-Cellular phones should be used on the ear opposite to your device. Do not keep cellular phones in a pocket over your defibrillator.
-To avoid any interference with your device, you must pass through any security devices or gates (airports, department stores, and other public places) within 10 seconds.
-Microwave ovens, televisions, electric tools, and gardening equipment should not cause problems.
Ask your EP physician or device company if you have further questions
- Always carry your device identification card with you. The device manufacturer will either give you permanent identification card after the procedure or mail it to you in a few weeks.
- Always tell medical personnel that you have a device. It is usually helpful to know what kind of device it is (i.e. pacemaker or defibrillator) and what company it is (i.e. Biotronik, Boston Scientific, Medtronic, or St. Jude).
- You may be discharged from the hospital with a remote monitoring instrument to take home. If you have not received one, please check with your doctor’s office to see if you can obtain one.
- Keep your follow-up appointment with your doctor and the device clinic to be sure your device and the leads are working properly.
- Always take your medications at the times prescribed by your doctor.
THINGS TO REPORT TO YOUR DOCTOR
- Fever greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit
- Swelling, bleeding, firmness, or redness at the incision
- Drainage of pus or other fluid from the incision
- Numbness, tingling or coldness in the affected extremity
- Persistent chest discomfort or difficulty breathing
If you are unable to contact any doctor, go to the nearest emergency room.