You’ve likely heard the common American colloquialism “my heart skipped a beat.” And as sweet as that may sound, it’s an unfortunate reality for some cardiovascular patients. It’s for these patients as well as those whose hearts are weakened due to age stress or genetic condition, that pacemaker implantation surgery is a lifesaver.
During a pacemaker implantation surgery, a medical device known as a pacemaker is implanted onto the heart to provide electrical stimulus anytime the muscle of the heart is beating irregularly or not strongly enough. There are many common concerns that arise in conversation with patients to whom we recommend pacemaker implantation surgery. Here are some of the most common and our responses to them.

Will You Be Able to See My Pacemaker Through My Shirt?
This is an extremely common question and one that we understand. Your medical history is private and no one wants to wear their private life with the world right on the front of their chest. Generally speaking, the answer to this question is no. While you may be able to see a slight bump beneath your skin at the site of your pacemaker implantation, most people will not be able to notice it. Of course, this also depends upon the type of clothing that you wear. Most patients are able to disguise their pacemakers with items from their existing wardrobe.

Will I Be Able to Maintain My Normal Lifestyle?
This is a complicated question and will vary from person to person. Most patients will be able to return to some degree of exercise within six weeks of their pacemaker implantation surgery. This of course does not include any high contact sports. Football, rugby, and even soccer are not advisable after undergoing pacemaker implantation surgery. However other no contact athletic pursuits are supported and even recommended to patients after undergoing the surgery.

Returning to your normal lifestyle looks different for everyone. A better thing to consider is what your new, healthier lifestyle may look like. Anytime you are suffering from a heart-related condition it’s important to maintain as healthy a lifestyle as possible. So as you return back to your life after your pacemaker implantation surgery, be sure to prioritize regular exercise, a heart-healthy diet, and the general reduction of stress. Any activity that takes a toll on your heart out to be reconsidered.

Will I Be Able to Feel My Pacemaker?
Again, The response to this question varies from patient to patient. Most pacemaker implantation patients will feel some sensation of soreness or tightness at the implantation site for sometime immediately after the procedure. However most people report the sensation going away, and eventually, they don’t notice it at all. Unlike their predecessors, modern pacemakers are very small and hidden by the tissue of the chest. While you may not notice it, your pacemaker is always working for you.

What Can I Expect from My Pacemaker Implantation Procedure?
The pacemaker implantation surgery itself is short and generally on an outpatient basis. Patients are awake during the procedure but given a sedative to relax them, and a local anesthetic to numb the incision site. The pacemaker device is inserted in an area of the upper chest and a wire is threaded through a vein into your heart. The surgeon will use the wire to attach an electrode on the inside of the heart and the other and other wire is attached to the device. After the device is implanted the surgeon will stitch the patient up and the pacemaker implantation procedure is complete.

How Long Will it Take Me to Recover from Pacemaker Implantation Surgery?
The recovery process varies from patient to patient. Some people go home immediately while others are asked to stay overnight in the hospital. For the next 4 to 6 weeks after your pacemaker implantation, you’ll be asked to avoid strenuous exercise. It’s very important to follow your surgeon’s instructions, keep them abreast of your progress, and do what you know to be best for your body. Some people may feel comfortable returning to a more active lifestyle within a month of surgery, while others may choose to wait longer.

Pacemaker technology has blossomed over the years, and these small devices are more effective and resilient than ever before. Your doctor will be able to test the effectiveness of the device from inside his or her own office without any invasive procedures. It should be also noted that pacemakers are not just devices for the elderly, they are also effective tools in regulating the heartbeats of patients of all ages and health levels.

If your doctor has recommended you undergo pacemaker implantation surgery and you’d like a second opinion free to reach out to us at any time. Or, if you do not currently have a cardiologist we’d love to introduce you to a member of our team.