While living with arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), your doctor may recommend a pacemaker to help regulate your heart. Your pacemaker requires a helping hand, though. Occasionally, you’ll have to make sure your pacemaker is accurately controlling your heart rate by scheduling a checkup. Your doctor will inspect the pacemaker and provide continued support and treatment, even after it’s been installed for months or years.
The Early Days with Your Pacemaker
Shortly after your pacemaker is installed, your doctor will sit down with you to discuss all the fine details, restrictions, and precautions you need to consider. You and your family members or caretakers must understand these instructions thoroughly. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or bring up any concerns you may have.
Before you are allowed to leave the hospital, it’s best to know the pacemaker’s programmed lower and upper heart rate settings. Your doctor will explain the maximum acceptable heart rate.
It takes about eight weeks for the pacemaker to settle in place after the operation. In this time, try to avoid sudden or spastic movements that would lead to your arm being jerked or pulled away from the body. Avoid excess pressure in the area where your pacemaker was installed. Women may want to consider wearing a small pad over the incision to protect the wound from bra straps or tight clothing.
Shortly after surgery, you should be able to perform your normal activities. You may wish to ask your doctor about when and how to go back to your daily schedule.
After implantation, your doctor will schedule a follow-up in the coming weeks. For most, this follow-up is at week six. It’s important to make this appointment. Any adjustments needed will be made, ensuring your pacemaker lasts longer and does its job adequately.
Afterward, your pacemaker should be checked once every six months via telephone transmitter to evaluate the battery. If the battery is low, you’ll require a new pacemaker. It’s all pretty standard, and your doctor will go over all the minor details before you leave the hospital.
The Pacemaker Follow-Up Schedule
Living with a pacemaker can be a challenge. You’ll be required to make all necessary appointments and stick to the follow-up schedule strictly. It can be a lot to manage.
The exact pacemaker follow-up schedule is standard:
Before you are discharged from the hospital, the pacemaker will be closely examined and tested. You’ll then receive a phone call within two weeks after the operation to ensure the wound is healing and the transmitter is working properly. A standard six week checkup will also be scheduled before you leave the hospital.
Telephone inspections are performed once every six months, and a pacemaker analysis is performed every three to six months.