common questions about your heart device

Do I have a choice in which device I receive?

Depending on the heart condition, the doctor will consider the different implantable heart device  options to best fit the patients needs. Make sure to tell your doctor about your lifestyle, hobbies, and climate, as all of these may be factors in your doctor’s decision. 

A few features the doctor may consider include:

  • Access to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans
  • Atrial Fibrillation (AF) diagnostics and monitoring
  • Continuous pacing of your heart

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Can I still get an MRI with my implanted heart device?

MRI may be seen as becoming the preferred procedure for diagnosing a large number of potential problems or potential abnormal conditions in many different parts of the body. MRI is predominantly used to diagnose back and joint pain, stroke symptoms and cancer.

If the patient has an active lifestyle or if they have other conditions that may require an MRI in the future, make sure the physician is aware before the implant procedure. 

A complete MRI SureScan system, which includes a SureScan ICD, CRT-D or Pacemaker with appropriate SureScan lead(s), is required for use in the MRI environment. 

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How will an implanted heart device impact my daily life?

While there are a few activities and household items that might need to be avoided, an implantable heart device allows many individuals to participate in the activities they enjoy, and to resume their normal daily activities after full recovery from surgery.

Medications will still need to be taken as directed, and periodically the doctor will need to monitor the device. If you have questions about specific activities  — such as returning to work or participating in exercise or sports — you should discuss your options with your doctor.

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Can I use a cell phone? 

Yes. When talking on a cell phone keep the phone’s antenna sixteen centimetres away from the heart device, and use the phone on the ear opposite the device. We also recommend avoiding placing the cell phone in a pocket near the device. 

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Will I be able to travel? 

Given the short duration of security screening, it is unlikely that the implanted heart device will be affected by metal detectors (walk-through archways and hand-held wands) or full body imaging scanners (also called millimeter wave scanners and 3D imaging scanners) such as those found in airports, courthouses, and jails.

To minimise the risk of temporary interference with the heart device while going through the security screening process, avoid touching metal surfaces around any screening equipment. Do not stop or linger in a walk-through archway; simply walk through the archway at a normal pace. If a hand-held wand is used, ask the security operator not to hold it over the implanted heart device and not to wave it back and forth over the device. A hand search maybe requested as an alternative.

In the case of concerns about these security screening methods, show the device ID card, request alternative screening, and then follow the instructions of the security personnel. 

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How active can I be?

An implantable heart device allows many individuals to participate in the activities they enjoy; however, there may be certain activities your doctor will ask you to avoid, like rough contact sports. Be sure to discuss your activity and lifestyle goals with your doctor to find a plan that works best for you. 

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Are household appliances safe to use?

Yes. Most household appliances are safe to use as long as they are properly maintained and in good working order. This includes microwave ovens, major appliances, electric blankets, and heating pads. 

For more extensive information of common items that produce electromagnetic fields that should be avoided or used with caution, visit our Electromagnetic Compatibility page and download our brochure. 

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Will magnets affect my device?

Items that contain magnets, such as magnetic therapy products, stereo speakers, and hand-held massagers can temporarily affect the operation of the implanted heart device. Therefore, it is recommended to keep items containing magnets at least sixteen centimetres away from the heart device.

We do not recommend the use of magnetic mattress pads and pillows because it is difficult to maintain a sixteen-centimetre distance when using these items.

For more information, visit our Electromagnetic Compatibility page. 

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