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How do I Avoid Common Pacemaker Problems?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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There are many ways you can avoid pacemaker problems. Among them are following the regular maintenance schedule your doctor provides, including telephone follow-ups and regular doctor’s appointments. You may also avoid exposure to devices that emit strong magnetic fields, including some types of welding equipment. Taking special precautions with having magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) may help as well. Interestingly, even keeping your cellphone out of the pocket of your shirt may help you avoid pacemaker problems.

One way to avoid pacemaker problems is to follow the maintenance schedule recommended by your doctor. This may include telephone follow-ups, during which a telephone and a special device is used to capture data from the pacemaker and transmit it over a telephone line. Regular visits with a doctor may also prove helpful for detecting problems with the pacemaker or its battery. Telephone follow-ups are often performed every month or two, but you may visit your doctor at least yearly. The exact schedule of maintenance, however, may vary from patient to patient.

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Many people think exposure to household appliances, such as microwaves, will cause problems with a pacemaker. In reality, microwaves, televisions, computers, and regular telephones are unlikely to interfere with a pacemaker. To avoid pacemaker problems, however, you may do well to avoid placing your cellphone in the breast pocket of your shirt, as it is possible for this device to impair the proper functioning of the pacemaker. Generally, however, keeping the pacemaker at least 6 inches (about 15 cm) away from the pacemaker can help prevent problems.

Your pacemaker may also be affected by strong magnetic fields. For example, you may avoid pacemaker problems by staying a good distance away from arc welding equipment and medical machinery that produces a strong magnetic field. Some industrial motors may also interfere with the proper functioning of a pacemaker, and you may best avoid them as well.

MRI scanning may also impair the proper functioning of a person’s pacemaker. For this reason, some people may prefer to avoid MRIs. In some cases, however, they can be an important part of diagnosing and treating medical conditions. To avoid pacemaker problems caused by an MRI, your doctor may take special steps to protect you and restrict the scan as much as possible. Additionally, your doctor may help you determine whether or not the risks of having an MRI are worth dealing with for the sake of the test's benefits.

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