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Adjusting to Life With a Pacemaker

Adjusting to Life With a Pacemaker

We’ve implanted a pacemaker (or we’re going to very soon) and you’re wondering what life will look like afterward. Hopefully, it will be full of improvements as we restore a regular rhythm to your heart, which is why up to 3 million Americans are living with pacemakers.

At our practice, Dr. James Kim and the team specialize in minimally invasive and preventive cardiology, including different types of cardiac catheterizations that improve your heart health without resorting to invasive surgeries. 

Included in this is the go-to tool for addressing an irregular heart rhythm — the pacemaker.

The good news is that there are only a few adjustments that you need to make after your pacemaker is implanted. Let’s take a look.

Immediately after pacemaker implantation

For the days and weeks following your pacemaker implantation procedure, there are a few temporary adjustments we ask you to make. For example, don’t lift the arm on the side of the pacemaker until we give you the green light to do so.

You should also avoid heavy lifting for 2-3 weeks and anything that might put pressure on the area where we implanted the pacemaker.

Rest assured, we provide you with complete instructions after your pacemaker procedure, and you should follow these to the letter.

A card-carrying member

Certain circumstances or devices can interfere with a pacemaker, such as going through airport security. That’s why we provide you with a card that indicates you have a pacemaker. You should carry this card with you at all times, as you never know when it might be useful. 

For a complete list of devices that may interfere with your pacemaker, click here.

Get moving

Before your pacemaker, you might have been worried about exercising, but now we want you to take advantage of this device and get moving.

We’re not asking you to go out and run marathons, but we do want you to move around for about 30 minutes each day, whether it’s a walk with friends or doing some yardwork. If you feel up for more, great, or if you tire easily, listen to your body and rest.

We want your exercise to feel invigorating, not exhausting, so finding that middle ground is important. As well, you can build slowly — start out with 10 minutes of exercise each day and work your way up to 30 or more.

Take your medications and keep your appointments

If we want you to still take medications after we implant your pacemaker, please take them as prescribed. We also want you to come see us for your follow-up appointments. Pacemakers may require reprogramming and adjusting as circumstances warrant.

Of course, any time you feel that something is off or not right, we want you to contact us straight away.

The bottom line is that your pacemaker should serve you well for years to come and provide you with a layer of protection against serious heart disease.

If you have more questions about what to expect after we install your pacemaker, please contact us at one of our offices in Chula Vista or National City, California, to schedule a consultation.

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