Home Care after Pacemaker Generator Change
This handout will help you learn how to care of yourself after a cardiac device generator change has been done. A nurse will go over this with you before you go home.
You had a pacemaker generator change done on________________ by Dr. _________________
The rate your pacemaker is set at is a range of ______________________. It will vary with your activity level or your body's needs.
The company that made your pacemaker is ____________________________.
UW Health Heart and Vascular Care Device Clinic (608) 263-1530
Purpose: 2 - 4 week check
Date_______________________ Time _____________
If DermaBond "Clear Glue" was applied to your incision, you may shower the day after your procedure.
If a dressing was applied over your incision:
- Leave the current bandage on and keep the incision clean and dry for 72 hours until _________.
- You may shower after you take the big bandage off. When you do shower, let the soap and water run down the incision, don't scrub or rub the site.
- The steri strips (the thin pieces of tape over the incision) hold the skin together as it heals. These should be left in place until they fall off on their own or the nurse will remove them at your first appointment.
Do not use any lotions or ointments over the incision.
As the site heals, you may feel some itching; this is normal. Do not scratch or rub the site.
Look at the site daily for any signs of infection:
- warmth over the site
- increased tenderness
- fever (101.0° F or greater)
If you notice any of the above, you need to call the device clinic the same day. (608) 263-1530
If you have pain at the site, you may take any mild pain reliever, Tylenol® or ibuprofen (Motrin®) that has worked for you in the past.
Your Implanted Cardiac Device ID card
You have been given a temporary ID card. Carry your card with you at all times. The device company will mail your permanent card to you in about 2 months. Be sure to let all the people you see for health and dental care that you have a permanent defibrillator. This includes all doctors, nurses, dentists, chiropractors or any other person you see for your health care. If they have any questions, have them call our clinic at (608) 263-1530.
Electrical hazards to be aware of
- Cellular Phones - should be 6 inches from your pacemaker, place the phone on the ear opposite of your pacemaker or use a headset.
- Theft detection devices - these are often around the entrances of stores. Walk through them as you normally would. Do not linger near these.
- Airport security - tell security personnel you have a device and show them the Medical Device ID card.
- Therapeutic radiation
Electrical hazards to avoid
- Working under the hood of a running car
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
- Electrocautery - in the operating room or in the dentist's office
- Arc welding
- Magnetic snap closure (in jackets) or magnetic name badges
Electrical appliances that are safe to be around
- Microwave ovens
- Hair dryers
- Electric blankets and heating pads
- Radios, TVs ,and stereos
This is just a partial list, for more information on this topic, you may call your device company. The phone number is on the back of your identification card.
When to call the doctor or pacemaker nurse the same day
- If you have any signs of infection. This would include: redness, swelling, drainage, warmth, or increased tenderness over the site, or fever.
- If you feel dizzy, light headed, or have a return of the symptoms that you had before your pacemaker was inserted.
- If your heart rate drops below the programmed rate, call the Pacemaker Clinic. If you cannot get in touch with the clinic, call your local doctor.
UW Health Heart and Vascular Clinic, Monday to Friday, (608) 263-1530.
After hours, nights, weekend, and holidays, this number is answered by the message center. Ask for the cardiology fellow on call. Give the operator your full name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area, please call 1-800-323-8942.
Your pacemaker will be checked every 3 months. In some cases, we may be able to alternate clinic visit with home remote checks. We will discuss this further at your first visit.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 03/19/2012
Copyright © 03/19/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7166
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