Stanford Cardiac Arrhythmia Service

Following the procedure

Activity

Patients are instructed to gradually go back to their normal activity level. Patients are instructed that they do not need to immobilize the arm.

Wound Care

Patients are instructed to remove the dressing daily from the patient’s incision and to look at the implant site carefully by standing in front of a mirror. If the patient has adhesive strips called steri-strips over the wound, patients are instructed not to remove them. Patients are instructed to check the wound for the following:

The wound should look the same or appear less red and tender than the previous day.

There may be minimal drainage from the incision site. The drainage should be clear or only blood tinged and should not have an odor.

Patients are instructed to replace the dressing with a clean dressing every day.

Patients are instructed to notify the doctor who implanted the device immediately if the patient’s incision has become more red, more tender, or has a cloudy drainage that may indicate an infection. Patients are instructed to notify the patient’s Arrhythmia Service physician if the patient’s pacemaker area has been swollen or enlarged and feels tense; this could indicate that there is bleeding in the area.

Patients are instructed to take the patient’s temperature if the patient is feeling excessively warm or have chills. If the patient has a temperature greater than 100, patients are instructed to contact the patient’s Arrhythmia Service physician that day.

Patients are instructed to sponge bath only for the first 5 days following the pacemaker implantation. After the fifth day, patients are instructed that they may shower unless otherwise instructed by the patient’s Arrhythmia Service doctor. Patients are instructed to pat dry the site but not to rub the wound site. The steri-strips will be removed at the patient’s one-week incision check-up.

Magnetic Interference

Microwave ovens, computers, VCRs, small electric tools, and garage door openers are all safe to use.

Patients are instructed to avoid large magnetic fields such as: leaning over a car engine while it is running, running motorcycle engines, chainsaws, power plants, etc.

Cellular phones should not be used directly above the pacemaker. Patients are instructed to hold the cellular phones 6 inches away from the pacemaker and to hold phone to the ear opposite of the pacemaker). Patients are instructed not to keep them in the "on" position in a pocket on top of the pacemaker.

When traveling in the airport, patients are instructed to tell Security that they have a pacemaker and Security will hand search the patient instead of having the patient walk through the metal detector. The metal detector will not harm the pacemaker, but the patient may set off the alarm.
The patients are instructed that they cannot have an MRI done because of the possible magnetic interference.

Identification

Patients are instructed to carry the pacemaker’s identification card in their wallet at all times. Patients will be given a temporary card upon discharge and a permanent card will be mailed to the patient from the pacemaker manufacturer in 6-8 weeks.

Patients are given the option of wearing a Medic Alert Emblem, and may request a form to order one.

Patients are instructed to notify the Arrhythmia Service if they have a new address or telephone number so that the company that manufactured the patient’s pacemaker may contact the patient if needed.

Follow-Up

When the patient is discharged the patient will be given a clinic appointment at Stanford within a week after implant to get the wound checked. If this is not arranged for the patient prior to discharge, patients are instructed to call the Arrhythmia Service at (650) 723-7111 so that we can coordinate the patient’s follow-up with the patient.

It is important that the patient’s pacemaker be checked regularly (1 month after implant and every 6 months thereafter). Please contact the Arrhythmia Service at (650) 723-7111 if that has not been arranged for the patient.

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