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Lifestyle Changes for Cardiac Device Management

Many people resume their usual activities after recovering from surgery to implant a cardiac device. However, you may need to adjust your lifestyle to help manage the use of your pacemaker, implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), or cardiac loop recorder. Experts from NYU Langone’s Heart Rhythm Center provide education and support to help you make the changes necessary to manage these devices and heart conditions.

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Refrain from Contact Sports

Your doctor can tell you if you are healthy enough to resume your exercise program after surgery to implant a cardiac device. You may be advised to avoid contact sports, such as football, that could cause you to fall on or sustain a blow to the implant site, causing damage to the device or its leads. Having a heart condition is also a factor in your ability to exercise. Your doctor can discuss any additional restrictions with you.

Considering Travel Plans

Your implanted cardiac device may set off airport metal detectors, so it’s important to carry the device’s identification card with you. Cardiac devices can go through the newer body scanners without difficulty. If you are in doubt, ask the airport security agent for a pat down search instead of a scan.

While traveling, please bring your patient monitoring device, so data can be transmitted via remote monitoring to our cardiac device team, as needed. Please contact the cardiac device team and let them know where you are traveling to and ensure you have cellular phone or Wi-Fi access to transmit data.

Advising Doctors and Dentists

Certain medical or dental procedures or imaging tests can affect the performance of your implanted cardiac device.

Though newer pacemakers and ICDs are typically considered safe and compatible with most MRI scans, some are not, because the powerful magnetic fields may affect the device’s functioning. Your cardiac electrophysiologist works with imaging services to determine whether your device is safe for an MRI scan.

Radiation therapy for cancer, electrocautery to stop bleeding during surgery, and shock wave lithotripsy for kidney stones can cause your device to malfunction. Let your surgeon know about your device, so he or she can communicate with the team at the Heart Rhythm Center to determine if the device needs to be turned off before the procedure. It is then turned back on after the procedure is completed.

Our Research and Education in Cardiac Device Management

Learn more about our research and professional education opportunities.