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Pacemaker Generator Change


The pacemaker generator is the metal piece that you can feel under your skin. A battery is sealed within your generator. Your healthcare provider will check the generator for battery power and function during scheduled generator checks. He will decide when it is time for your generator to be changed. He will replace your generator before the battery runs out of power completely. Pacemaker batteries can last up to 12 years. He will also replace the generator if it does not function properly.


Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
  • You have any of the following signs of a heart attack:
    • Squeezing, pressure, or pain in your chest that lasts longer than 5 minutes or returns
    • Discomfort or pain in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm
    • Trouble breathing
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Lightheadedness or a sudden cold sweat, especially with chest pain or trouble breathing

Seek care immediately if:

  • You are dizzy, or you faint.
  • Your stitches come apart.
  • Your pulse is lower than the set rate or higher than 100.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever or chills.
  • Your wound is red, swollen, or draining pus.
  • You have hiccups that last more than 48 hours.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care for your wound as directed:

Keep your bandage clean and dry. Your healthcare provider will teach you how to care for your wound.

Activity after your procedure:

  • Take baths instead of showers for as long as directed. Baths allow you to keep your wound dry and helps lower your risk for infection.
  • Do not rub or massage the area around your pacemaker. You may damage the leads or move them out of place.
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods to help with healing. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish.
  • Do not lift anything heavier than 3 pounds with the arm closest to your pacemaker. Do not lift the arm over your head until your healthcare provider says it is okay.

Pacemaker safety:

  • Wear medical alert jewelry, such as a bracelet. Carry a pacemaker identification card. These items will inform others that you have a pacemaker. Ask where to get these items.
  • Check your pulse every day. Check for 1 minute while you are resting. Write down your pulse rates and keep a record of the results.
  • Tell all healthcare providers that you have a pacemaker. Some procedures may interfere with your pacemaker.
  • Do not play full contact sports. An example is football. Contact sports may damage your pacemaker. Ask your healthcare provider how much and what kinds of physical activity are safe for you.
  • Use your cell phone on the ear opposite from your pacemaker. Do not carry your cell phone in your shirt pocket over your chest.
  • Show airport security your pacemaker card before you go through the metal detectors. Metal detectors may alert security because of the small amount of metal in your pacemaker. Step away from machine if you feel dizzy or your heart rate increases. If a handheld wand is used, ask that security agents do not hold the wand over your pacemaker longer than a few seconds. Your pacemaker function or programming may be affected by the wand.

Electromagnetic interference:

Electromechanical interference (EMI) can affect your pacemaker function. Move 4 to 6 feet away from the source if you have dizziness or palpitations. Your pulse should return to normal. Household items, such as a microwaves and electric blankets, do not affect your pacemaker's function. The following may affect your pacemaker's function:

  • Antennas, and amplifiers used in audio and laboratory equipment
  • Electric cautery equipment, MRI equipment, and TENS units
  • Unshielded motors on cars and boats

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You will need regular checks to make sure your pacemaker is working properly. Some checks may be done over the telephone. Ask your healthcare provider about them. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© 2017 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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.