Adjusting to Life With a Pacemaker

A pacemaker is a small device implanted into your chest to help your heart beat properly. People get pacemakers for several reasons, but the end goal is always to correct your heartbeat. 

Dr. Erick Calderon, cardiologist at Lakewood Cardiovascular Consultants, understands it can be nerve-wracking to get a pacemaker. To help ease any jitters you may have, Dr. Calderon offers this guide to adjusting to life with a pacemaker. 

Right after pacemaker implantation

After you get your pacemaker, you’ll need several days to recover. During this time, relax! Get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids. 

The recovery period after pacemaker implantation generally lasts about eight weeks, during which you will need a caretaker in your home. This can be a friend, a spouse, a family member, or someone you hire. Whoever you choose, they’ll need to understand the detailed post-op instructions provided by your surgeon (as will you). 

Keep these few key things in mind during your pacemaker implantation recovery: 

After a couple of months

Pretty soon, you’ll notice that you can complete normal daily activities with ease. Hooray! You may even forget you have a pacemaker after a few months pass. Your doctor will advise you on the specifics, but most people can return to the following activities after a couple of months of living with their pacemaker: 

The rest of your life

After several months with your pacemaker, your life should pretty much return to normal. Remember, your pacemaker is meant to enhance your life, not inhibit it. If your doctor doesn’t detect any problems with your pacemaker, you should be able to exercise regularly, enjoy recreational activities, and complete all activities of daily living. 

While your pacemaker shouldn’t interfere with your life on a daily basis, there is some maintenance to keep up with. When you have a pacemaker, you should get it checked on a regular basis. At a checkup, your doctor will run some tests to check your pacemaker’s battery level, wiring, and placement. Your doctor will also perform a general physical exam and check to see if your medications are working.  

Taking precautions

Living with a pacemaker means taking some precautions in your everyday life. None are overly burdensome, but these small actions can extend the life of your pacemaker (and your own life). 

First things first: Tell everyone you have a pacemaker and get a pacemaker ID card. Your doctors, nurses, friends, and family members should know you have a pacemaker in order to avoid anything that may interfere with the device. It’s helpful to have an ID card to show airport personnel, security guards, employers, and anyone else who might ask you to do something you can’t or don’t want to (like walk through a full-body scanner). 

To learn more about pacemakers and get tips for living with one, visit Dr. Calderon at Lakewood Cardiovascular Consultants in Bradenton and Sarasota County, Florida. Call our heart health clinic at 941-404-7958, send a message to the team, or request an appointment online.

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