The good news is that living with a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter-defibrillator improves your quality of life and extends it. However, once you have these devices implanted, there are certain precautions you must take to keep them functioning properly.
Communicate With Airport Security
Although it is normally safe to pass through airport security points, you should still alert airport personnel about your medical implants. Their system will not harm either of your devices, but it’s possible it will set off an alarm especially if they do a more detailed search.
Be Conscientious About Cell Phone Use
Most cell phones in the US are safe to use. It is still wise to keep them 6 inches from your devices and avoid carrying them in a pocket near your pacemaker or ICD.
Physical Therapy Precautions
If you must undergo any physical therapy, avoid diathermy which uses heat to treat your muscles.
Be Aware Of Certain Medical Complications
- Inform your doctor or dentist if you are about to undergo a procedure. Some procedures require your ICD be turned off of set differently.
- Changing the mode on your pacemaker is handled non-invasively, but must be handled by medical professionals.
- Lithotripsy to treat kidney stones can affect the functionality of your devices. Make sure your doctor is aware of your implants when you schedule the procedure.
- Pain management therapy using TENs or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation can interfere with your devices. Speak with a cardiologist if this is being considered.
- Radiation therapy for cancer can damage the circuits in your devices. Depending on the dosages, the risk increases. Alert your physician before having radiation.
Take Precautions With Headphones
Certain headphones contain a magnetic substance that can interfere with your devices. Wear them appropriately on your ears for best protection. Never leave them draped around your neck or within 1.2 inches of a device. In addition, never put them in your breast pocket or allow headphones of others to be pressed against your devices.
Turn Off Motors While You Work On Them
Keep all car or boat motors off if you work on them. The magnetic fields in the motors can cause complications with your implants.
Have Proper Identification With You
Always keep an ID card with you at all times. You can download one here.
Have Regular Checks
Your devices should last 5 to 7 years if handled appropriately and with certain precautions.
Talk with a cardiologist at New Jersey Cardiology Associates if you have more questions or concerns about living your life with a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter-defibrillator.