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In most cases, having a pacemaker won't limit you from doing sports and exercise, including strenuous activities.
You may need to avoid full-contact sports, such as football. Such contact could damage your pacemaker or shake loose the wires in your heart. Ask your doctor how much and what kinds of physical activity are safe for you.
Your doctor will want to check your pacemaker regularly (about every 3 months). Over time, a pacemaker can stop working properly because:
To check your pacemaker, your doctor may ask you to come in for an office visit several times a year. Some pacemaker functions can be checked remotely using a phone or the Internet.
Your doctor also may ask you to have an EKG (electrocardiogram) to check for changes in your heart's electrical activity.
Pacemaker batteries last between 5 and 15 years (average 6 to 7 years), depending on how active the pacemaker is. Your doctor will replace the generator along with the battery before the battery starts to run down.
Replacing the generator and battery is less-involved surgery than the original surgery to implant the pacemaker. Your pacemaker wires also may need to be replaced eventually.
Your doctor can tell you whether your pacemaker or its wires need to be replaced when you see him or her for followup visits.
Last Editorial Review: 5/14/2010
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