A pacemaker is a medical device used to control the heart beat. It is small in size, about the size of a pocket watch. It is placed under the skin near the heart by a minor surgery, to control the heartbeat. It can be implanted either permanently or temporarily.
Complications after the pacemaker implantation, though rare, may include the following:
• Infection where the pacemaker was implanted
• Allergic reaction to anesthesia used during the procedure
• Swelling, bruising or bleeding
• Damage to the blood vessel or nerve near the pacemaker
• Collapsed lungs
The following precautions should always be considered by the person having pacemaker.
• It is safe to talk over cell phone but avoid placing the cell phone directly over the pacemaker implantation site when the phone is turned on.
• Although it is generally safe to go through the airport security detectors, inform the airport security personnel about the pacemaker before going through the security check, as the device may set off alarm.
• If selected for a more detailed search, politely remind the security that the hand-held metal detecting wand should not be kept over the pacemaker for a longer period of time(more than a second or two), as the magnet inside the wand may change the operating mode of the pacemaker.
• Avoid magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines or other large magnetic fields, as they may affect the programming and functions of the pacemaker. Generally, there are alternative to MRI for persons with pacemaker.
• Abstain from diathermy treatment, in which heat is used to treat muscles.
• Turn off large motors, such as cars or boats, when working on them. These may temporarily confuse the device.
• Avoid certain high voltage or radar machinery such as radio, television, transmitters etc.
• Before undergoing a surgical procedure, inform the surgeon or the dentist about the pacemaker implanted.
• Always carry an ID card that states that you are having a pacemaker.
• It is recommended that you wear a medic alert bracelet or necklace if you have the device.
• The concerned person may need to take certain antibiotic medications before any medically invasive procedure to prevent infections.
• And at last, always consult the physician or the device company for any questions concerning the use of certain equipments near the pacemaker.