Patient Rules when Using Pacemaker Devices

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Overview of Pacemaker Guidelines

Rules when using pacemaker devices are necessary to protect the patient from harm. While some of these may seem quite trivial, they are important to know. There are different instances when external factors can affect the functioning of this piece of equipment. When this occurs, the heart can be affected. Although some of the pacemaker complications may seem minor or non-life threatening, such as a small change in the heart rhythm, major adverse effects are possible. Conditions such as sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) for example, can cause death. Whether in the home or another environment, interference with the pacemaker can be avoided by following the proper guidelines.

Household Environmental Concerns

With the increase in technological advancements, the majority of pacemaker complications as a result of household appliances have been eliminated. In the past decades, phones, microwaves and even hairdryers could pose a threat to those with pacemakers. Now, this is considered safe with a few exceptions to this consideration. Some of the older models of microwaves and electronics may lack the insulation necessary to prevent interfering with this type of implantable device. In such cases, it is recommended that the person not stand directly in the range of the appliance while in use if replacement is not an option. In addition to this, general guidelines that are routine for all persons is also applicable. This means not using any type of electronic device or appliance that is not in proper working condition.

Additional Environmental Hazards

The majority of pacemakers designed today are specifically made with potential threats posed by one’s environment in mind, but there are still factors that may affect this. Strong energy fields for example, can disrupt the functioning of the device. Pacemaker complications can be caused by highly magnetic fields, industrial sites, electrical fields and certain kinds of metal detectors. Interference may also be caused by very strong radio or antenna transmissions as well. In some cases, the pacemaker can even be dislodged as a result of heavy magnetism. Although these hazards have been significantly decreased the severity of the environment will play a role and it’s still important that the patient keep these pacemaker guidelines in mind.

Other Important Considerations

Even certain medical procedures can affect the pacemaker. For example, the MRI and electrical cauterizing procedure are often not recommended in these particular patients. Rules when using pacemaker devices can differ depending on the type and model in which the patient has had implanted. It is always important to check with the physician regarding any other safeguards the person needs to adhere to. If the patient suspects that their device has been affected by something or not functioning properly, they should seek immediate medical attention.


Living With a Pacemaker. Rush University Medical Center. Viewed 27, December 2010.

Pacemakers and Antitachycardia Devices. Batsford, William M.D. Yale University Library. Viewed 27, December 2010.