Frequently Asked Questions About Your Heart Device
Your questions answered
Explore our frequently asked questions about life with an implanted heart device below for some general guidelines and precautions to consider.
Depending on your heart condition, your doctor will consider the different implantable heart device options to best fit your needs. Make sure to tell your doctor about your lifestyle, hobbies, and climate, as all of these may be factors in your doctor’s decision.
A few features your doctor may consider include:
- Access to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans
- Atrial Fibrillation (AF) diagnostics and monitoring
- Continuous pacing of your heart
Traditional heart devices are not FDA-approved for MRI exams because the strong magnetic fields could change the setting and/or temporarily affect the normal operation of the implanted pacemaker, ICD or CRT. However, some manufacturers like Medtronic has continued to develop products with FDA-approved MRI SureScan™ Technology, allowing patients to safely receive MRI scans.
MRI has become the preferred procedure for diagnosing a large number of potential problems or abnormal conditions in many different parts of the body. MRI is predominantly used to diagnose back and joint pain, stroke symptoms and cancer.
If you have an active lifestyle or if you have other conditions that may require an MRI in the future, make sure your physician is aware before your implant procedure.
While there are a few activities and household items you will need to avoid, an implantable heart device allows many individuals to participate in the activities they enjoy, and to resume their normal daily activities after full recovery from surgery.
You may still have to take medication as directed, and periodically your doctor will need to monitor your device. If you have questions about specific activities — such as returning to work or participating in exercise or sports — you should discuss your options with your doctor.
Yes. When talking on a cell phone keep the phone’s antenna six inches away from your heart device, and use the phone on the ear opposite your device. We also recommend you avoid placing the cell phone in a pocket near your device.
Given the short duration of security screening, it is unlikely that your implanted heart device will be affected by metal detectors (walk-through archways and hand-held wands) or full body imaging scanners (also called millimeter wave scanners and 3D imaging scanners) such as those found in airports, courthouses, and jails.
To minimize the risk of temporary interference with your heart device while going through the security screening process, avoid touching metal surfaces around any screening equipment. Do not stop or linger in a walk-through archway; simply walk through the archway at a normal pace. If a hand-held wand is used, ask the security operator not to hold it over your implanted heart device and not to wave it back and forth over your device. You may also request a hand search as an alternative.
If you have concerns about these security screening methods, show your device ID card, request alternative screening, and then follow the instructions of the security personnel.
Yes. Most household appliances are safe to use as long as they are properly maintained and in good working order. This includes microwave ovens, major appliances, electric blankets, and heating pads.
For more extensive information of common items that produce electromagnetic fields that should be avoided or used with caution, visit our Electromagnetic Compatibility page and download our brochure.
Items that contain magnets, such as magnetic therapy products, stereo speakers, and hand-held massagers can temporarily affect the operation of your implanted heart device. Therefore, it is recommended you keep items containing magnets at least six inches away from your heart device.
We do not recommend the use of magnetic mattress pads and pillows because it is difficult to maintain a six-inch distance when using these items.
For more information, visit our Electromagnetic Compatibility page.
If you have any doubts, please call our office.
Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.