What To Ask Your Doctor About Pacemakers

If your doctor has recommended that you undergo surgery for a pacemaker, it's likely that you have some questions. This is completely normal, and knowing which questions to ask can eliminate a lot of anxiety associated with this procedure. Below are six questions you should ask your doctor about a pacemaker.

What can I expect for the pacemaker surgery?

A pacemaker surgery is generally quick and does not require open heart surgery. Most people go home within 24 hours. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia, so you will be awake, but the area being openated on will be numbed. The time of the surgery varies from doctor to doctor, and the reason you are receiving a pacemaker will play a role in the duration of the surgery.

You'll want to ask this question to avoid any nervousness you might have about the procedure itself. Surgery can be terrifying for some people, so having a doctor explain the steps will lessen the anxiety involved. You should ask this question before it comes time to have the surgery so you'll know what steps you have to take prior to the operation.

By asking your doctor this question, you'll also have a better understanding of how long it's going to take and what the downtime looks like. Some doctors require their patients to stay in the hospital longer than others.  You'll want to schedule the surgery accordingly to allow for recovery time.

Will I need extra medication?

After any surgery. a doctor might require you to take extra medicines to prevent infection, but he or she might also require additional medicines for your new pacemaker. Usually, the pacemaker is designed to work with the medications you're already taking, but there may be exceptions. Be sure to question your doctor about your new medication routine following the procedure.

Will my pacemaker need to be replaced?

This is a question many people fail to ask their doctor. Pacemakers are not permanent objects, and generally the device lasts five to seven years. You'll need to ask your doctor for more personalized information as to how long yours will last. 

How is the pacemaker's battery replaced?

The battery of a pacemaker doesn't last forever, much like the device itself. Thankfully, the mechanism won't randomly stop working. As part of your periodic checks with your doctor, the battery of your device will be inspected. From there, your doctor will tell you if and when it needs to be replaced. This question will give you an idea of scheduled check-ins. Your doctor should also explain to you how long recovery time is for a battery replacement, though it's usually just an overnight stay.

Will I feel the pacemaker?

This is another question that many people fail to ask. You should realize that the answer might very well be "yes." Your doctor should be able to explain to you how the device will feel in your chest. 

What activities or objects should I avoid with a pacemaker?

A new pacemaker means a new lifestyle. There are certain electronics and actions that you have to avoid to allow your device to continue working. Ask for a complete list of machines and activities that you have to avoid once your pacemaker is successfully implanted. There might be some activities you can resume after a period of time, so be sure to ask your doctor about the duration of this period.

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