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What you should know
A pacemaker is a small, battery-powered device that is implanted into your chest to help regulate your heart rate.
Care AgreementYou have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
You may have temporary bruising, pain, and swelling from the procedure. Infection could occur where the pacemaker is implanted. You may bleed more than usual or get blood clots. Blood clots can lead to a stroke. The leads could also poke a hole in your lung, heart, or blood vessel. The pacemaker itself may cause your heart to beat irregularly. Your pacemaker could fail to work properly.
The week before your pacemaker procedure:
- Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
- Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.
- Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
- You may need to have tests, such as blood tests or an electrocardiogram (ECG), before your pacemaker procedure. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.
The night before your pacemaker procedure:
- You may be asked to clean your skin with antibacterial soap the night before your procedure.
- Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.
The day of your pacemaker procedure:
- Ask your caregiver before taking any medicine on the day of your procedure. These medicines include insulin, diabetic pills, high blood pressure pills, or heart pills. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital.
- You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
What will happen during your pacemaker procedure:
Your caregivers will use monitors to check your heart, breathing, and blood pressure during the procedure. You will be given medicine through an IV to help you relax or make you sleepy. Local anesthesia medicine will be injected into your skin to make it numb. An incision will be made in the skin over a large blood vessel in your neck or chest. The lead wires for the pacemaker will be guided through the blood vessel and attached to your heart. Another incision is then made to place the pacemaker unit, usually just below your collarbone. The pacemaker unit will be inserted and lead wires will be connected to it. The incisions will be closed with stitches and covered with sterile bandages.
What will happen after your pacemaker procedure:
You will be taken to a recovery area where caregivers will watch you until you are alert. You will have monitors attached to you that check your heart, breathing, and blood pressure. Before you leave the hospital, your pacemaker will be programmed to your needs.
Contact a caregiver if
- You cannot make it to your procedure on time.
- You have questions or concerns about your procedure or the pacemaker.
- You have a fever.
- The problems for which you are getting the pacemaker become worse.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.