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What side effects can occur from a pacemaker?

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Quick Answer

Potential side effects of receiving a pacemaker include infections and bleeding at the insertion site, as ABC News reports. A very rare complication occurs when the lead in the device moves out of place, potentially poking a hole in the patient's heart.

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Full Answer

To prevent the pacemaker lead from moving and causing the patient problems, surgeons often screw the lead directly into the heart muscle, notes ABC News. However, some risk of the lead moving is still present. The patient must limit his movements, such as avoiding lifting objects above a certain weight, while the surgery site heals to minimize the risk of the lead moving.

Patients with pacemakers must limit their exposure to certain magnetic and electrical devices, such as microwave ovens, cell phones, metal detectors, electrical generators and high-tension wires, explains National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. These devices can prevent the pacemaker from functioning properly, and patients are not always able to tell when their pacemakers are malfunctioning due to disruptions in electrical signals from these devices. Patients must pay attention to factors most people don't think much about, such as which hand they use to hold their cell phones, to minimize exposure to devices that can interfere with pacemakers.

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