female patient

common questions about your heart device

Do I have a choice in which device I receive?

Depending on your heart condition, your doctor will consider the different implantable heart device  options to best fit your 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 your 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?

Traditionally, most implantable heart devices are not considered safe in an MRI environment because the MRI could change the settings, temporarily affect the normal operation of, or potentially damage the heart device. However most Medtronic heart devices are approved for use in the MRI environment, having a unique design developed so that under specific conditions, people may safely undergo MRI scans. Your doctor should discuss all potential benefits and risks of an MRI scan with you.

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How will an implanted heart device impact my daily life?

While there are a few activities and household items you will need to avoid, 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.

You may still have to take medication as directed, and periodically your doctor will need to monitor your 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 6 inches/15 centimeters away from your heart device, and use the phone on the ear opposite your device. We also recommend you avoid placing the cell phone in a pocket near your device.

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Will I be able to travel? 

Given the short duration of security screening, it is unlikely that your 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.

To minimize the risk of temporary interference with your 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 your implanted heart device and not to wave it back and forth over your device. You may also request a hand search as an alternative.

If you have concerns about these security screening methods, show your 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, please refer to your heart device 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 your implanted heart device. Therefore, it is recommended you keep items containing magnets at least 6 inches/15 centimeters away from your heart device.

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

For more information, please refer to your heart device brochure.

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Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.



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