You will receive an instruction sheet that describes how to prepare for the procedure. Here’s an overview of those instructions.
Where is the procedure performed?
In most cases, the implant procedure takes place in a special room in the Electrophysiology Lab. When the epicardial implant approach is used (see next page), the procedure takes place in a surgical suite.
Should I take my medications?
If you take Coumadin, the results of your INR test (a blood test to evaluate the blood clotting) must be within a suitable range before the implant procedure can be performed. Usually you will be instructed to stop taking anticoagulant medications, including aspirin or Coumadin (warfarin), a few days before the procedure.
Your doctor may also ask you to stop taking other medications, such as those that control your heart rate. Do not discontinue any of your medications without first talking to your health care provider. Ask your doctor which medications you should stop taking and when to stop taking them.
If you have diabetes, ask the nurse how to adjust your diabetes medications or insulin.
Can I eat?
Eat a normal meal the evening before your procedure. However, DO NOT eat, drink or chew anything after 12 midnight before your procedure. This includes gum, mints, water, etc. If you must take medications, only take them with small sips of water. When brushing your teeth, do not swallow any water.
What should I wear?
Remove all makeup and nail polish. Wear comfortable clothes when you come to the hospital. You will change into a hospital gown for the procedure. Please leave all jewelry (including wedding rings), watches and valuables at home. The clothing you are wearing that morning will be returned to the person who accompanies you.
What should I bring?
You will not need a robe or toiletries when you first arrive. You may pack these items - your family member will need to keep your bag until after the procedure. Bring a one-day supply of your prescription medications. Do not take these medications without first talking with the doctor or nurse. You may bring guided imagery tapes or music and the appropriate player.
What happens before the procedure?
Before the procedure begins, a nurse will help you get ready. You will lie on a bed and the nurse will start an IV (intravenous line) in a vein in your arm or hand. The IV is used to deliver medications and fluids during the procedure.
To prevent infection and to keep the pacemaker insertion site sterile:
- An antibiotic will be given through the IV at the beginning of the procedure
- For men: The left or right side of your chest will be shaved
- A special soap will be used to cleanse the area
- Sterile drapes are used to cover you from your neck to your feet
- A soft strap will be placed across your waist and arms to prevent your hands from touching the sterile area