A pacemaker helps your heart maintain a consistent beat. During a pacemaker insertion, your doctor will make an incision in the skin to place the pacemaker. Recovering from pacemaker surgery includes several restrictions that are necessary to follow to ensure proper healing.

What are the restrictions after pacemaker surgery?

During the insertion of the pacemaker, your surgeon will insert wires known as leads in your heart’s chamber. Minimizing physical exertion is necessary to ensure the leads don’t move and the surrounding tissues heal quickly and healthily.

Read on to learn about the dos and don’t s after pacemaker insertion.

Things to follow

  • Keep yourself informed on the information regarding pacemaker
  • Keep your body and muscles relaxed and move slightly to avoid muscle tension.
  • Take your prescribed medicines
  • Consult your doctor regarding any checks on the pacemaker or adjustments to the medications
  • Eat and drink similar to normal circumstances
  • Call your doctor right away if you feel any side effects resulting due to malfunctioning of the pacemaker, including faintness, difficulty breathing
  • Consult your doctor if you’ve fever or the device seems warm

Things to avoid

  • Don’t rub or press the chest area around or close to the surgery
  • Limit physical activities such as leaning or stretching your arms behind you
  • Don’t let your surgery site wet until the follow-up visit with your doctor or removal of your stitches. This can take up to 7-10 days after the procedure.
  • Don’t wear clothes that are too tight over the pacemaker insertion area.
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects (not even your pets) until your doctor suggests that you’ve now healed enough to resume such activities.
  • Avoid operating heavy objects and wait until your doctors’ approval.

Symptoms of complications after surgery?

Your doctor or surgeon will guide you on some restrictions and when to seek medical help due to issues arising after pacemaker surgery. The main complications include infection on the incision or inappropriate working of the pacemaker.

Here are a few symptoms for which you should see your doctor.

  • inflammation, warmth, or redness close to the insertion site
  • feeling that heart beat isn’t normal
  • bad smell or discharge from the surgery area
  • fever

When can I resume my normal activities?

For about two weeks after your surgery, you should avoid any strenuous activity that includes anything that can make your heart beat faster and require too much body movement. Jogging and running are a few examples.

Also, avoid any activity that would submerge your incision or device underwater, including swimming, hot tub, and more.
Assuming that you didn’t experience any complications after a period of 6 weeks, your doctor or surgeon will advise if you can continue your previous physical activities.
Summing up

Healing after a pacemaker surgery requires the patient to minimize their physical activities not because it will cause problems to the heart but because the body tissues require time to fully recover at the surgery site.

If you suspect any abnormal symptoms after pacemaker placement, immediately consult your doctor. The qualified team of cardiologists at EPIC Heart & Vascular Center, Houston, is always ready to serve you.