Cardiologist Questions Pacemaker

What could be the side effects of a pacemaker?

The doctor has recommended a pacemaker for my father. I would like to know what the possible side effects are of having a pacemaker in the body?

6 Answers

A pacemaker can be a life saver. Side effects are minimal - infection, injury to nearby structures, issues with anesthesia (but can be done with local anesthesia, too), etc. When done at a good center, this is minimal.
Pain over site which resolves eventually
If a Pacemaker is recommended, it should help with energy, breathing and reduce the risk of blackout. The Pacemaker will require regular follow-up. The procedure carries a risk of injury, perforation, bruising at the site of insertion and infection although these risks are low.
Pacemaker rhythm not capturing or pacing ( weakness and low blood pressure) , also wire fracture, infection, and fluid around the heart , recommend checking the pacer with the company that inserted it.
1. Anxiety related to knowing you have a pacemaker and knowing your life may depend on it and that it is an electrical device with a battery and lead(s) that go into your heart.

2. A sense of security that now you have a safe reliable life-saving device implanted that will also improve your quality of life.

3. Infection risks, mainly at implant.

4. Rarely, removal of the device and leads if they become infected. This may require difficult lead extraction procedures.

4. Discomfort at implant site.

5. Necessity to monitor regularly.

6. Availability of remote monitoring so that your doctor will know in real time if anything is wrong.

6A. Confusion about remote monitoring in elderly patients.

7. Possibility of device malfunction or lead problems that may require revision of the implant.

8. Necessity to reprogram the device periodically to enable more effective control of the arrhythmia and heart function.

9. Necessity to replace the battery periodically, usually after at least 5 years, often much longer.

10. Necessity to upgrade the device as your father's condition changes.



There are other side effects but I would like to emphasize that, whatever the problems and they are not common, pacemakers are miraculous devices that save lives and enable improved quality of life. Just make sure that the doctor implanting the pacemaker is experienced and has a good track record and that the doctor following your father's device is experienced, responsible, honest, conscientious, and caring. These two doctors may be the same or different people.
Infection