You' llbe attached to a special monitor so the medical team can keep an eye on your heart rhythm. The monitor consists of a small box connected by wires to your chest with sticky electrode patches.
The box displays your heart rhythm on several monitors in the nursing unit. The nurses will be able to observe your heart rate and rhythm.
A chest X-ray will be carried out to check your lungs, as well as the position of the pacemaker and leads.
You may feel some pain or discomfort during the first 48 hours after having a pacemaker fitted, and you'll be given pain-relieving medication.
There may also be some bruising where the pacemaker was inserted. This usually passes within a few days. Tell the staff if your symptoms are persistent or severe.
It's sometimes possible to go home on the same day you have the procedure, but you'llusually need to stay in hospital for one or two days. You'll need to arrange for someone to pick you up from hospital and take you home.
Before going home, you'll be given a pacemaker registration card, which has the details of the make and model of your pacemaker. Always carry the card with you in case of an emergency.
You may also want to wear a MedicAlert bracelet or necklace engraved with important information, such as the type of pacemaker you have, a personal identity number and a 24-hour emergency phone number.
If you have an ordinary driving licence, you can start driving again after one week as long as:
You must also tell the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and your insurance company that you have a pacemaker.
If you drive a large or passenger-carrying vehicle, you'llhave to wait six weeks after your pacemaker is fitted before driving again.
You'll be able to feel the pacemaker, but you'll soon get used to it. It may seem a bit heavy at first, and it may feel uncomfortable when you lie in certain positions.
Modern pacemakers are now so small they're almost completely hidden by the chest tissue and are barely noticeable.
You should feel back to your usual self or even bettervery quickly. It's best to avoid reaching up on the side you had your operation for four to six weeksthat means not hanging out washing or lifting anything from a high shelf, for example.
However, it'simportant to keep your arm mobile by gently moving it to avoid getting a frozen shoulder .A physiotherapist can show you how to do this. You'll usually be able to do all the things you want to do after around four weeks.
The time you need off work will depend on your job your cardiologist will usuallybe able to advise you about this. Typically, people who've had a pacemaker fitted are advised to take three to seven days off.
You should avoid strenuous activities for aroundfour to six weeks after having your pacemaker fitted. After this, you should be able to do most activities and sports.
However, if you play contact sports such as football or rugby, it's important to avoid collisions. You may want to wear a protective pad. Avoid very energetic activities, such as squash.
Don't get your woundwet until your stitches have been taken out. After that, avoid wearing anything that rubs against the area of your wound, such as braces.
Women may need a new bra with wider straps. Avoid exposing your wound to sunlight in the first year as this can cause a darker scar.
It depends on the kind of stitches used. Many doctors use soluble stitches that dissolve on their own. Before you go home, you'll be told what type of stitches you have.
If you need to have your stitches removed, it will usually be after about 7 to 10 days.
You'll usually have your pacemaker checked after four to six weeks at the hospital where it was implanted. Provided this check is satisfactory, you'll have your pacemaker checked every3 to 12 months.
If after having the pacemaker fitted and leaving hospital you feel you're not getting as much benefit as you imagined, your pacemaker may need some small adjustments.The cardiologist or cardiac technician will be able to do this.
Signs that your pacemaker isn't working as it should or you've developed an infection or blood clot include:
Contact your GP or cardiologist as soon as possible for advice if youexperience any of these problems after having a pacemaker fitted.
If this isn't possible, call NHS 111 or your local out-of-hours service .
Most ordinary household electrical equipmentis safe to use and won't interfere with your pacemaker. This includes microwaves, as long as they'rein good working order.
Morespecific advice is outlined below:
If your job brings you into contact with strong electrical fields such as arc welding, diathermy or working with high-power radio or TV transmitters or you have direct contact with car ignition systems, check with your cardiologist or pacemaker technician before returning to work.
Avoid wearing magnetic bracelets and magnets near your chest.
Most pacemaker batteries last for6 to 10 years. After this, you may need to have the batteries changed. Ask your doctor how you'll know when the battery needs to be replaced or recharged.
Changing the batteries involves replacing the pacemaker box with a new unit. This is a simple procedure that may or may not require an overnight stay in hospital. The original lead or leads can usually be left in place, although occasionally they'll also needto be replaced.
You'll need follow-up appointments for the rest of your life after having a pacemaker fitted. These may be every3 to 12 months, depending on the type of pacemaker you have and how well it works.
At your follow-up appointment, the technician or doctor will analyse the discharge rate of your pacemaker, measure the strength of the electrical impulse, and record the effects of the impulse on your heart.
Most modern pacemakers can store information about the state of the battery and the performance of the pulse generator. Your pacemaker can then be reprogrammed to the best settings for you, if necessary.
There's no reason you can't continue to have a good sex life after having apacemaker implanted and you're feeling better.
However, you should avoid positions that place pressure on the arms and chest for the first four weeks of your recovery.
The risk of sex triggering a heart attack is low (around1in 1 million).
You should tell your doctor, nurse and dentist about your pacemaker as you may need to avoid some medical tests and treatments, such as MRI scans and the use of TENS machines .
You should also tell your family and close friends that you have a pacemaker fitted. Tell them what to do if you lose consciousness or collapse.
Most people who have a pacemaker fitted feel it has a tremendously positive impact on their life.
Research shows having a pacemaker can help you be more active. It may also help you stay out of hospital and live longer.
Above all, you should feel better. Previous symptoms, such as breathlessness or dizziness, should disappear.
Find out what a pacemaker is, how it works, why you might need it, and how it is implanted.
Find out why a pacemaker is often recommended for people with heart problems such as atrial fibrillation, heart block, and those at risk of cardiac arrest.
Find out what will happen during your preoperative assessment and how your pacemaker will be fitted. Also, find out how your pacemaker will be tested once it's fitted.
You will usually be able to go home one or two days after having a pacemaker implanted. Find out more about recovering after a pacemaker implantation.
Find out about the possible risks of having a pacemaker fitted, including blood clots, infection, an air leak and pacemaker malfunction.