The Facts about Pacemakers

A healthy adult heart beats between 60 and 100 times a minute. Each beat is prompted by a group of cells in the upper right chamber of the heart. This biological “spark plug” fires at regular intervals, generating an electrical signal that travels through the heart, keeping the heart beating regularly. But if the heart’s natural “pacemaker” no longer works properly, heart rhythm will be abnormal, a condition known as arrhythmia. In some cases, treating arrhythmia requires insertion of an electronic pacemaker. Has your doctor spoken to you about a pacemaker? Here’s what you need to know:

Who needs a Pacemaker?

Pacemakers are most commonly used to treat bradycardia, an abnormally slow heartbeat. But other conditions, like heart block, heart failure, and Long QT Syndrome, may also necessitate use of a pacemaker.

Does getting a pacemaker involve open-heart surgery?

No. Pacemaker surgery is relatively simple: a small incision is all that’s required, and usually local anesthesia will suffice. The surgery usually takes about two hours, and patients can be released from the hospital within a couple of days.

How long does a pacemaker last?

Typically, the only part of the pacemaker that wears out is the battery. Batteries last anywhere between 5 and 15 years. Replacing a battery is usually quick and requires little recovery time.

Do I have to limit my activities after getting a pacemaker?

Once you have been cleared by your doctor following pacemaker insertion surgery, you do not need to limit your activities. However, certain things can interfere with pacemakers.

In order to help you avoid risk, you will receive a pacemaker ID card, which you should carry at all times. You should also consider wearing a MedicAlert bracelet that states that you have a pacemaker.

Anything with a strong electromagnetic field can interfere with the functioning of your pacemaker. For example, people with pacemakers should not have MRIs.

Cell phones are safe, but should be kept at east 6 to 12 inches away from the pacemaker.

Metal detectors, such as those at airports and stores, are generally safe, though it is wise to minimize exposure to them by moving through them quickly. Hand-held metal detectors, however, pose greater risk. If you are selected for special screening with a hand-held device, show your pacemaker ID card and ask to be checked in a different way.

Other devices, including medical devices, can also create issues for pacemakers. Inform your doctor that you have a pacemaker before undergoing any procedure.

How long does recovery take?

Recovery after pacemaker insertion can take anywhere from a few days to a few months. The American College of Cardiology (ACC) recommends enrollment in a cardiac rehabilitation program following pacemaker surgery for best results. Cardiac rehab provides coordinated, supervised care, and is recommended as the safest way for pacemaker patients to recover. Most insurance plans, including Medicare, cover cardiac rehab for pacemaker patients.

The cardiac rehab center at Hamilton Grove Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Hamilton, NJ, provides care at the highest level recommended by the ACC. Hamilton Grove offers

SMART Rehab, an advanced concept in rehabilitative care. SMART Rehab has set a whole new standard for rehabilitative therapy programs, with superior care and comfort unparalleled in the healthcare industry.

SMART Rehab creates each patient’s individualized care plan based on their personal physician’s protocol, assuring the best clinical outcomes. We partner with your physician, maintaining regular contact and forwarding progress reports. Our experienced and professional therapists are goal oriented and use aggressive therapy regimens that promote rapid healing.

Our SMART Rehab Therapy Gym is equipped with the latest and best in innovative therapeutic equipment. And our therapists provide therapy seven days a week. Your recovery shouldn’t take a break on weekends.

In addition to cardiac rehab, Hamilton Grove offers SMART rehab for:

  • Hip or knee replacement
  • Post-stroke
  • Post-surgery recovery
  • Complex wound care
  • Motor vehicle trauma
  • Cardiac rehabilitation
  • Diabetes monitoring and care
  • Pain management
  • IV Therapy
  • Tracheotomy care
  • Gastrostomy care

At Hamilton Grove Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Hamilton, NJ, our care programs are designed specifically to meet the unique needs and interests of seniors and long-term care patients. We emphasize restorative care, maximizing each patient’s potential to regain and maintain function and mobility.

We foster an environment that is cheerful and enthusiastic, so residents truly relish and appreciate life.

Our outstanding Social Services team works hard to ensure that every resident thrives socially, emotionally, and spiritually.

We promote a culture of independence, crucial for emotional, social, and physical health. Residents are encouraged to choose their activity and meal preferences, and to perform tasks and activities as self-sufficiently as possible.

We carefully select, train and re-train our wonderful caregivers, who are especially sensitive to the needs of our long-term care patients. They treat residents with love, compassion, and dignity.

Read our reviews on,, and to hear what our residents and their families have to say.

Or better yet, come see for yourself: Contact us to schedule a tour by calling 609-588-5800 or by clicking here.

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