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Signs It’s Time for a Pacemaker Check and What’s Involved

Why it's important to get your pacemaker checked regularly - Brookhaven Heart, Patchogue, New Hyde Park, and Hicksville, NY

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Implanted pacemakers and defibrillators are designed to help people maintain a healthy heart rhythm and pace. These lifesaving devices run on Lithium-ion batteries. However, the batteries won’t last forever, which is why you need to listen to your body’s warning signs, use the remote diagnostic services at Brookhaven Heart, and schedule a pacemaker check on a regular basis.

What Should You Expect During a Pacemaker Check?

A pacemaker check is typically performed every six weeks after the device is implanted. The checkup will help your doctor determine if the pacemaker is working properly. A magnet will be placed over your pacemaker to change its rate of function. An external computer will analyze the rate of change.

The computer will then reprogram the pacemaker to ensure that it is aligned with your heart’s unique rhythm. The computer will also analyze the pacemaker’s battery. As a general rule of thumb, the battery will typically last between five and 10 years; however, battery deterioration and failure can occur, which is why diagnostic services and checkups are so important.

In addition to checking the device’s battery, your doctor will also listen for any abnormal heart rhythms and discuss any physical ailments that you are experiencing. If your checkup is good, then your doctor might decide to reduce the number of pacemaker checks to once every three months.

What Are the Warning Signs That it’s Time for an Implanted Pacemaker Checkup?

Did you know that your body will give you various warning signs that your pacemaker or its battery might be malfunctioning? These warning signs could include the following list of symptoms.

  • Shortness of breath – If you have shortness of breath, a persistent cough, or lasting chest pain, then it is possible that your pacemaker’s battery could be deteriorating. During your pacemaker checkup, a cardiac technician might ask you to take a brisk five-minute walk. The short exercise will help the technician better analyze how your heart is performing. The gathered information can be used to ensure that the pacemaker is functioning properly, and that it is programmed to your unique bodily needs.
  • Fever, skin redness, and/or pus or swelling at the incision site – If you have a fever, skin redness, pus, or swelling at the incision site, then your body might be fighting an infection. This warning sign should not be taken lightly. If you are experiencing these symptoms, then you should contact your doctor for a pacemaker check.
  • Stomach pain, dizziness, or fatigue – In just 0.1 percent of cases, pacemakers can migrate away from their placement site. The most common signs of pacemaker migration include stomach pain, dizziness, and fatigue.

If you are experiencing any of the above warning signs, then you should contact your doctor to schedule a pacemaker checkup. Remember, your pacemaker can only maintain a healthy heart rhythm if it is operating properly and its battery is functioning at its full capacity.

Improve Your Heart Healthcare with Brookhaven Heart

At Brookhaven Heart, we believe in helping you receive simple yet effective heart healthcare. Through our remote diagnostic services, we can perform pacemaker and defibrillator checks. If you prefer, you can also schedule an on-site checkup to ensure that your pacemaker is working properly every hour of every day.

To learn more about keeping your defibrillator or pacemaker in top working condition, call 631-654-3278 to speak with a member of the Brookhaven Heart team in one of our three locations (Patchogue, New Hyde Park, and Hicksville) today.