We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Basic Pacemaker Precautions?

By N. Swensson
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A pacemaker is a device inserted under the skin near the heart to help regulate the heartbeat. People with an irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia due to a heart attack or other health condition may need a pacemaker. As the devices are electronic and run on a battery, there are some basic pacemaker precautions that should be taken. Certain activities may need to be avoided for a period of time after the pacemaker surgery, and the device should be checked regularly to make sure it is working properly and has adequate battery life. Other precautions include avoiding MRIs and certain other types of machinery, as well as notifying airport security before going through a metal detector.

After surgery, some initial precautions should be observed. A medical professional may restrict patients from exercising or lifting heavy objects for about a month after the procedure. A follow-up visit to the surgeon may also be scheduled to make sure the device is working properly. This visit may be followed by regular checks that can be done over the telephone. This involves attaching a transmitting device to the body and the phone, which allows pacemaker information to be sent to a technician who evaluates function, battery life, and other factors.

In addition to regular check ups, other pacemaker precautions may need to be taken. As pacemakers are sensitive to magnets, many people who have the devices cannot have certain medical procedures, such as an MRI or some types of radiation for cancer treatment. Sometimes, a person's pacemaker will need to be turned off during surgery, but this should only be done by trained medical personnel. In other cases, antibiotics may be given before surgery to minimize the risk of infection.

It is usually okay to go through airport security with a pacemaker, but security should be notified in advance because the devices can set off the metal detector. Also, the wands used for metal detection during a more thorough check should not be passed directly over the area of the pacemaker, as this can disrupt its function. Individuals who have a pacemaker should a medical alert bracelet at all times.

While most daily activities are safe and don't require any pacemaker precautions, some things may need to be avoided. People with pacemakers can use cell phones, but holding one directly over the device may interfere with its pacing. Any high-voltage machinery may also cause similar problems.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon1002273 — On Oct 12, 2019

Can I work on small engine repair with a pacemaker?

By anon997393 — On Jan 01, 2017

Can my pacemaker cause occasional numbness in my left upper arm?

By anon996958 — On Oct 29, 2016

I have a pacemaker. Can I use copper fit backbrace ?

By anon315813 — On Jan 25, 2013

What happens if you have a pacemaker and stop seeing your Cardiologist?

By anon306694 — On Dec 01, 2012

Is it safe to use Viagra if one has a pacemaker fitted, and have sex?

By anon301057 — On Nov 02, 2012

I am a student and I am studying chemical engineering and I graduate soon. Will me having a pacemaker hinder me by working at the plant where I have already been offered a job? Also, I have Brugada Syndrome and my cardiologist wants to place an ICD, which would benefit me more for my job since I have not had any major episodes of the Brugada.

By anon278449 — On Jul 06, 2012

Can I have a mammogram if I have a pacemaker?

By anon269989 — On May 20, 2012

I would like to know what to do if my pacemaker stops working.

By anon267290 — On May 09, 2012

Can I run a cordless electric chainsaw since I have a pacemaker?

By anon265389 — On May 01, 2012

I would like to know if there are other procedures other than MRI that pacemaker patients should not have. Specifically, can laser surgery or laser procedures cause a problem for somebody with a pacemaker?

By anon247028 — On Feb 12, 2012

I am due to have a pacemaker fitted in late March and due to go on holiday in August and return the following March. Will this be OK? Also, how long before I can fly again after operation?

By hanley79 — On Aug 04, 2011

@anon152799 - Yes, you can use an ATM card in an ATM machine just fine. Your pacemaker won't interfere with most electrical equipment and even power tools. The rare exception is that some high-powered cell phones can interfere with proper pacemaker functions.

To prevent that, just hold the phone on the other side away from your heart and the pacemaker, and don't store the phone in a pocket anywhere near the pacemaker.

Pacemakers have come a long way since they were first invented, and people still have some misconceptions about just what they are and aren't allowed to do when they have one. A lot of people think you can't use a microwave if you have a pacemaker but that was only true of the very first models -- the new ones have absolutely no problem with you microwaving your food.

By seHiro — On Aug 03, 2011

@gimbell - Yikes, I hadn't thought about defibrillators! That would be just awful if somebody zapped an emergency first aid patient and wound up frying their pacemaker in the process of trying to restart their heart. Without the pacemaker, they probably couldn't get enough of a pulse going again to wake back up.

What happens if a pacemaker patient's heart stops, though, if you can't use a defibrillator? What do you do instead to help them? Surely there must be something you can do, right?

By gimbell — On Aug 02, 2011

@VivAnne - For the most part, for any medical procedure it's important to know if a patient has a pacemaker, even in emergency first aid situations. If a patient has a pacemaker and someone tries to use a defibrillator on them, for example, this can be do more damage than good!

Pacemakers may set off airport metal detectors, too, so a great precaution to take is to carry your pacemaker card in your wallet or purse and show it to security before going through the detectors. It will save everybody a lot of hassle and worry, and will not ring the alarm and freak everybody nearby out.

On the downside, you will probably have to have a pat down since that's the way to test for any weapons on you if you do not go through the metal detector.

By VivAnne — On Aug 01, 2011

I think it's important to note that you cannot have an MRI scan if you have a pacemaker. MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and the metal parts in a pacemaker would have a dangerous reaction to the MRI scan if a pacemaker patient went into the MRI chamber.

For this reason, you should always, always tell the nurse and doctor that you have a pacemaker if they want to do an MRI!

By anon152799 — On Feb 15, 2011

i am a pacemaker patient. can i use my atm card in atm machine?

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.