FAQ’s


FAQ’S



  • How long should a pacemaker last?
  • Can Home Appliances damage /interfere with my pacemaker?
  • Can I use hand held domestic Power Tools?
  • Can I use hand held electric Gardening Tools?
  • Can I carry out repairs on motor vehicle engines?
  • Can I return to my previous occupation after having a pacemaker fitted?
  • Can security equipment in Airports and Shop entrance damage or interfere with my pacemaker?
How long should a pacemaker last?

Pacemaker batteries usually do not stop suddenly. One of the purposes of your follow up care is to monitor the battery status. Your pacemaker will give ample warning that the battery is reaching depletion. At this time your doctor will schedule a replacement procedure.

In general pacemakers last anywhere between 8 to 10 years. Pacemaker longevity depends upon how hard the battery inside the pulse generator has to work. This in turn is affected by how much energy is required to pace your heart and how the system is programmed for your needs.

Can Home Appliances damage /interfere with my pacemaker?

Using properly operating household appliances such as microwave ovens, electric blankets and most power tools cannot damage your pacemaker.

Using electric arc welders or working on automobile ignition systems will also not damage your pacemaker, however there is a possibility that they may interfere with the proper operation of your pacemaker. If you are using any of these or similar devices and become light headed or feel palpitations simply turn the device off or walk away from it and normal pacemaker operation should resume.

MEDICAL OR SURGICAL TREATMENT
If you are having any type of medical procedure performed, let your physician, dentist, chiropractor, physiotherapist  or any health or cosmetic care provider know that you have a pacemaker. They will then be able to determine which diagnostic or therapeutic equipment is appropriate to use.

The following items do not affect the function of your pacemaker.
Acceptable:

  • Electric blankets, heating pads and portable space heaters.
  • Hand held items without an AC motor such as cordless electric knives, irons and newer cordless shavers.
  • Large appliances including washers, dryers and electric stoves.
  • Ovens, including microwaves, gas and electric.
  • Salon hair dryers.
  • Tabletop appliances such as toasters, blenders, electric can openers and food processors.
  • Televisions, FM and AM radios, video cassette recorders (VCRs), video games, compact disc players, stereos (other than speakers), desktop and laptop computers.
  • Treadmills
  • Vacuum cleaners and electric brooms.

The following items do affect the function of your pacemaker in close proximity.

You must not be too close to these appliances; more than 6 inches away

  • The following items can be used when they are kept 6 inches away from your pacemaker (it is usually the motor that may cause an electromagnetic field). If you experience dizziness and palpitations simply move further away from the item. Your pacemaker will then operate properly.
  • Hand held hair dryers and older shavers with an electrical cord.
  • Pagers
  • Sewing machines and servers (sewing machines that overcast edges to prevent fraying)
  • Electric toothbrush and the base charger of an ultrasonic toothbrush.
  • Large stereo speakers which often have large magnets. Do not lift large stereo speakers close to your pacemaker.

You must be at least 2 feet away from these appliances.

When using an induction range for cooking keep your pacemaker 2 feet from the range to prevent EMI.

Can I use hand held domestic Power Tools?

Home Power Tools

Most home tools are safe to use according to the following guidelines:

  • Keep hand held motorised tools away from your pacemaker.
  • Keep all equipment in good condition to avoid electric shock.
  • Avoid operating power tools when you are alone.
  • Be certain that tools are properly grounded. If you use power machinery often a ground-fault interrupt outlet is a good safety measure. This inexpensive device prevents a sustained electrical shock.

Battery operated tools and most electric tools are also acceptable to use. Included are these tools:

  • Power drills
  • Jigsaws
  • Electric screwdrivers
  • Soldering irons (but not soldering guns)
Can I use hand held electric Gardening Tools?

Yes.
It is safe to use electric gardening tools. Included are the following tools:

  • Electric hedge clippers
  • Leaf blowers
  • Lawn mowers

Snow blowers

Can I carry out repairs on motor vehicle engines?

MOTOR VEHICLE REPAIR

Acceptable with precautions

  • Gas powered tools. Turn off the engine before making adjustments.
  • Car engine repair. Use caution when near the coil, distributor or spark plug cables of a running engine. Turn off the engine before making any adjustments to the distributor.
  • Soldering guns and demagnetisers. Keep 6 inches away from your pacemaker.

CONTRAINDICATIONS WITH PACEMAKERS

Not recommended:

Avoid using a power tool locked in the on position. This would prevent you from quickly turning off the equipment.

Avoid using a gas-powered chain saw. This is recommended because your hands and body come into close contact with the electric spark generating components/ these components could interact with your pacemaker.

Can I return to my previous occupation after having a pacemaker fitted?

Workplace Guidelines

After recovering from surgery most pacemaker patients can return to work or school. This section offers precautions and guidelines about using or working near various kinds of equipment or sources of high electrical current.

Office based employment.

Acceptable:

Most office equipment is safe to use with your pacemaker. This includes the following items and other similar equipment.

  • Computers such as desktop, laptop and mainframe
  • Copy machines
  • Electric typewriters
  • Fax machines
  • Modems
  • Printers such as laser or dot matrix.
Can security equipment in Airports and Shop entrance damage or interfere with my pacemaker?

Travel and Security System Guidelines in Airports and Shops:

Most people with pacemakers can travel without taking special precautions. However certain security systems require a few instructions.

Acceptable

The following devices do not affect your pacemaker. However you may wish to know about these devices before you encounter them.

  • A car seat belt may feel uncomfortable. On newer model cars the seat belts can be arranged for your comfort. Placing a soft towel between the seat belt and the pacemaker during the first few weeks after surgery may cushion the area. In any case seatbelts should be worn at all times.
  • Airport security systems. Identify yourself as having a pacemaker. Your pacemaker will not be affected by the security system. However the metal case around your pacemaker could set off the alarm. To clear airport security show your pacemaker ID card. Request a hand held screening device to clear you through the security system.
  • Home security systems. It is unlikely that your pacemaker will set off or be affected by home security systems.

Acceptable with precaution

  • Retail and library security systems. To prevent the effects of these systems on your pacemaker just walk normally through them. Do not linger or lean against these detectors. It is unlikely that your pacemaker will set off retail or library security systems however you should always carry your ID card. This card is always helpful should your pacemaker set off a metal detector or security system.

Other electrical devices. Do not stand close to any electrical device if you suspect it is causing a problem with your pacemaker.


Dr. A.M.Karthigesan

-Senior Consultant Cardiologist & Electrophysiologist

-Chief, Cardiac Pacing and Arrhythmia Services

-Department of Cardiac Pacing and Electrophysiology

-Apollo Hospitals, Greams Road, Chennai.

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