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bythebay's avatar

Does anyone know anything about pacemakers/defibrillator's?

Asked by bythebay (8147points) April 22nd, 2009

My mother is having a pacemaker/defibrillator put in tomorrow. She’s been putting this off for awhile, but it’s a necessity now. I’m curious to hear anything you have to share. First hand knowledge, observations, info about the surgery and subsequent recovery. Please share. Thanks!

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7 Answers

FrankHebusSmith's avatar

All I can tell you is the stuff you probably already know from the doctors. It’s basically a tiny shock giving machine (much like an AED) that shocks the heart into a normal rhythm if it starts to fall out of one. Stay away from things that give off electrical or magnetic fields of any significance (Think microwave).

asmonet's avatar

Click
Microwaves were used in the “old” days to communicate with the pulse generator so it could be interrogated and reprogrammed. It was therefore subject to interference from other devices which produced microwaves, such as ovens. Even then, they had to be really leaky. Nowadays, I warn my patients that as long as they don’t get in a microwave and turn it on, that they should be safe.

And more here!

Go ahead and nuke those breakfast burritos.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

An older (81yrs) relative of mine had one put in and he was out of the hospital in just a few days and healed quickly. Aside from his skin being thin where you could see a little bump underneath where the device was, he said it wasn’t painful or uncomfortable.

Darwin's avatar

My dad had one put in last year. It was done under local anesthesia and the procedure took under an hour. He went home the same day.

He says that now he feels 10 years younger (he is currently 84 years old) and on top of that he no longer passes out at inconvenient moments. He is very glad he did it. He needs to have a monthly check up over the phone (the pacemaker actually “talks” to another computer over the phone lines) and he sees his doctor in person once a year. He will need a new battery in 5 to 8 years, the timing of which is determined by those monthly phone calls. The replacement will be done under local anesthesia also.

My neighbor’s husband had both installed, and they lengthened his life by a good 15 years. He got to see his grandsons grow up and marry thanks to that little bump on his chest.

Nowadays, these things are actually tiny computers that monitor the heart rhythm, stepping in only when needed. Most of them are now “aware” of changes in activity levels, too, so they know when to bump things up a bit.

They are amazing gadgets these days.

TaoSan's avatar

I remember translating several studies from German into English for one of Germany’s big manufacturers some 5 or 6 years ago. One if them by Frauenhofer, so rather impartial.

As I recall it, and with the NDA in mind, I’d say that the results where overwhelmingly positive. Insertion is minor, failure rates are marginal, finetuning procedures are very standardized and well documented.

The huge and vast majority of patients report “immediate” improvement of their perceived well-being. Subsequent monitoring confirms improvement of overall health status in almost every case.

In a nutshell, relax, she’ll feel much better and the risks are minimal.

echotech10's avatar

@westy81585…I have a pacemaker that was implanted 6/2010. And I was told most microwaves that are used in the home are ok to use per my doctor.

echotech10's avatar

@bythebay…I am a pacemaker patient myself, since 6/2010 I am trained in Cardiovascular Technology, with a certification in EKG which also qualifies me to work with pacemaker patients . I have a bit of experience from both sides of the table if you know what I mean. More than likely, the doctor will have your mother stay overnight in the hospital, for at least one night. However I was in the hospital for two nights. My pacemaker is Bi-V, and was implanted for CRT, due to a very persistant A-fib. It sounds to me like your mom is having an ICD implanted, because you mentioned defibrillation. The ICD prevents what is called V-fib, which is another type of cardiac arrhythmia. But, I can trully say I have felt a lot better since the pacemaker was implanted. Even the FAA doesn’t frown on pacemakers for pilots… which admittingly was the one thing that made me go ahead and have it done besides the obvious benefits as well. For the first 3–6 weeks after the surgery, she will not be allowed to lift anything over 5lbs. To put that in perspective, a gallon of milk weighs 9 pounds. Nor will she be allowed to drive or go swimming until the sutures/staples are removed. I hope this helped you a lot, and hope your mom has a speedy recovery :). I can tell you a lot more, but I will be happy to answer any questions as best I can.

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