Measuring pacemakers

The heart normally beats at a regular rate, but it is possible that the heartbeat is irregular and / or too fast or too slow. In that case we speak of a cardiac arrhythmia. For a slow heartrate often there are no pharmacological (medication) treatments available. An implantable pacemaker may help. The implantation of a pacemaker can be an important decision with many possible psychosocial and practical consequences.

A pacemaker consists of a pulse generator and one to three electrodes (leads). A pulse generator is a box carrying batteries called lithium and iodine accumulators. The box is as large as a small matchbox and weighs about 20 - 30 grams The casing of the box is made of titanium. In a lean patient the pacemaker is generally palpable and visible as a lump under the skin. The electrodes run from the pacemaker to the heart. Usually the electrodes are placed in the heart by means of a catheter through the blood vessel.

Precepts directly after the pacemaker is inserted up to 3 months after surgery

  • Your arm on the side where the pacemaker is inserted is not allowed to be moved above shoulder height or to the back of the body.
  • You should not lift heavy objects (e.g. groceries or children)
  • Extra care should be taken when stretching, pulling, and also for extra-effort activities (such as vacuuming or washing windows)
  • Avoid wearing tight fitting clothing (such as bra’s, straps or braces) which can disturb the motion of the shoulder
  • Perform the prescribed practices for the shoulder to prevent shoulder complaints.


Present within one or two weeks after implantation for wound management. The technician-engineer will measure the pacemaker activity a few times per year and will also do an electrocardiogram (ECG) and a check on the battery, electrodes and pacemaker function together with the any existence of arrhythmias. The first measurement is done 2 months after implantation.