How often do I have to see my doctor?
Be sure to schedule regular follow-up appointments with your cardiologist, even if you’re feeling fine. Your doctor may advise you that annual visits are sufficient, but be sure to call him or her any time you have questions or experience a health problem related to your procedure.
Is it safe to engage in sexual activity?
Other than a brief stay in the hospital followed by a short recovery period, receiving an implantable device or undergoing an ablation procedure typically doesn’t have any adverse effect on a patient’s sex life. It is important, though, to follow your doctor’s advice as to when to resume any physical activity.
Will I be able to drive?
If you have had a pacemaker implanted, for example, it should not affect your ability to drive. However, it is best to discuss driving with your doctor before you start driving again. It is important to note that in some countries there are legal restrictions on driving after a procedure.
If I have a pacemaker, is it safe to use a cell phone?
Cellular phones, which send electromagnetic signals, can interfere with proper device operation.
However, simple precautions—such as not carrying the phone in a breast pocket over the pacemaker and holding it to the ear that is farthest from the pacemaker—minimize the risk.
Will an iPod® music player or other portable multimedia player interfere with my pacemaker?
There is no indication that compact multimedia players, such as iPod products or mp3 players, interfere with the normal function of a St. Jude Medical pacemaker. Some limited data suggests that during device evaluation in the hospital or in a clinic, use of one of these players within approximately 12 inches of the implanted pacemaker and programmer wand could disrupt the communication between the programmer and the pacemaker. Again, this interference is only observed when the multimedia player is within 12 inches of the implanted pacemaker and the programmer’s telemetry wand.
Though there is no data that carrying a multimedia player device affects a pacemaker’s ability to deliver therapy, it is nonetheless recommended that, if you carry the player in your breast pocket, you do so on the opposite side from your implanted pacemaker.
Will airport, courtroom or other security areas interfere with my pacemaker or ICD?
The amount of metal used in St. Jude Medical implanted medical devices is very small. It is usually not enough to set off metal detectors; however, if it does, simply show security personnel your patient identification card.
Passing through a metal detector will not hurt your device. However, you do not want to linger too long near the metal detector (no more than 15 seconds is recommended). The best thing to do is to walk through at a normal pace. If the alarm sounds (it may or may not), it only means that the system detected the metal in your device.
Security personnel may use a handheld wand. If so, it is important that you ask them to perform the search quickly and to avoid holding the wand over your implanted device for a prolonged period of time. Your device will not interfere with aviation navigation equipment.
What if I need care when I’m traveling?
If you need care when you are traveling, you can use our international clinic locator to search for clinics in Europe, Africa, Canada and the Middle East that offer implantable cardiac device support for St. Jude Medical pacemakers and defibrillators. Clinics in additional countries will be added in the future. We recommend that you bookmark this page on your smartphone before you leave to make locating help easier, should you require medical assistance while away from home.
I have a Merlin@home™ transmitter. Is there anything special I need to do when traveling outside the United States?
Be sure to ask your doctor to contact St. Jude Medical support service to determine if your Merlin@home transmitter will work in the country in which you are traveling.
Last Reviewed: April 25, 2011 V-00304