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Questions and Answers – Living With an Implanted Cardiac Device

Tachycardia (Fast Heartbeat)

What should I do if I move or change doctors?

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What kind of follow-up care can I expect after my device is implanted?

A schedule of post-implant checkups, as prescribed by your physician, soon becomes a regular part of your life after receiving a cardiac device. Because your device contains a computer chip, your physician or clinician is able to use a special computer called a programmer to check (interrogate) your device. Routine checkups and monitoring help ensure that your device is meeting your health requirements. During these routine checkups, the physician or clinician is able to:

  1. Review any heart rhythm events that may have occurred since your last checkup.
  2. Check that your device functions are set to levels appropriate for your needs and make any "fine tuning" adjustments if necessary.
  3. Check the status of the battery that powers your device.
  4. Assess your medical condition.
  5. Answer any questions you may have.

Your doctor determines the frequency of your follow-up visits.

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What should I do if I hear a beeping sound coming from my heart device?

Depending on the device you have implanted and how it is programmed to operate, you may hear a beeping sound (an alert) coming from your heart device. Your doctor will have determined the conditions that will trigger an alert and the time of day the alert will occur. If you hear an alert from your device, call your doctor immediately for further instructions. Click below to hear one of two alerts that may be turned on in your heart device. Ask your doctor to explain what the alerts mean in your particular case. The alert sounds will continue until your doctor checks your device at the clinic and then turns the sounds off with the programmer.

Should I tell my dentist or doctor I have a medical device?

When scheduling any dental or medical procedure not related to your cardiac device, it is important to inform dentists, doctors, and technicians that you have an implanted device. They may need to consult with your cardiologist or electrophysiologist (EP) before performing the procedure. This is true especially if the procedure is a new or unusual one. Even though most dental and medical procedures are unlikely to interfere with the function of your implanted device, some may require precautionary measures that prevent or minimize any interference.

icon-pdf More: Electromagnetic Compatibility Guide (350 KB)

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Can I go through store anti-theft detectors or airport security systems?

Anti-theft detectors used in stores and libraries operate on the principle of generating electromagnetic interference (EMI) fields that can "sense" embedded "tags" on the merchandise being protected. It may be possible, under unique circumstances, for these same interference fields to affect the operation of an implanted cardiac device. Significant effects from the interference are unlikely to occur if you pass "normally" through the detectors because the interference ends as soon as you walk through (or move away from) the anti-theft equipment.

icon-pdfMore: Electromagnetic Compatibility Guide (350 KB)

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Can I travel with my device? What things should I be aware of?

Most people with cardiac devices can travel freely unless they are restricted by their underlying medical condition or other, unrelated conditions.

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Will magnets affect my device?

Maybe you remember in science class learning that items that have electric and magnetic components have an "electromagnetic" energy field around them. Even though most electromagnetic fields in the home environment will rarely affect the function of an implanted cardiac device, it is recommended you keep any item containing magnets away (at least 6 inches/15 centimeters) from your device.

icon-pdfMore:  Electromagnetic Compatibility Guide (350 KB)

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Can I use a chain saw or welder?

Unlike most other household power tools, welders and chain saws are two tools that may have a higher tendency to temporarily affect the normal function of your implanted cardiac device.

icon-pdfMore:  Electromagnetic Compatibility Guide (350 KB)

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Can I use home power tools?

Tools and equipment that use electricity and magnets have electromagnetic fields around them. The good news is that Medtronic pacemakers and implantable defibrillators (ICDs) have built in features that protect them from many types of electrical interference. However, some home power tools and machine shop equipment have the potential to interfere with the function of your device.

icon-pdfMore:  Electromagnetic Compatibility Guide (350 KB)

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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.