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Pacemaker Failure

Although pacemakers are reliable life-saving devices, problems do rarely occur. Symptoms of pacemaker malfunction include fainting, dizziness, palpitations, shortness of breath, and slow or fast heart rate.

Causes for pacemaker failure include:

  • Battery depletion

  • Loose or broken wire between the pacemaker and the heart

  • Electromagnetic interference from other devices

  • Electronic circuit failure

  • Electrolyte abnormality (such as high potassium in the blood)

  • Electromagnetic interference from certain devices such as power generators, arc welders, and powerful magnets (found  in medical devices, heavy equipment, and motors)

NOTE: Common household devices, such as microwave ovens, TV remotes, heating pads, and electric blankets, do not interfere with pacemakers. Cell phones now available in the U.S. do not interefere with pacemakers.

Home Care:

  1. Do not push, pull, or twist the pulse generator unit placed under your skin.

  2. Carry a wallet I.D. card with the name of your device and its maker, and the name of your cardiologist. This will help emergency personnel test your pacemaker in the event of a future suspected malfunction.

  3. Medical and dental equipment can affect pacemakers, so tell the doctor or dentist that you have one before any procedures are performed. Routine x-rays can be performed without pacemaker interference.

Follow Up

with your doctor or as advised by our staff.

Get Prompt Medical Attention

if any of the following occur:

  • Weakness, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting

  • Chest, arm, shoulder, neck, or upper arm pain, or shortness of breath

  • Rapid heart rate (over 120 beats per minute, at rest)

  • Palpitations (the sense that your heart is fluttering or beating fast or hard or irregularly)

  • Difficulty with speech or vision, weakness of an arm or leg

  • Pain, redness, swelling, or drainage from pacemaker implant site

 

 
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