Background: Cardiac pacing is a recognized and widely used treatment for Patients presenting with bradycardia. Physicians expect Patients to return to normal activities almost immediately post implantation. However, Patients themselves may perceive interference to pacemaker function by various routine activities and devices, and hence continue to lead restricted, disabled lives. The aim of this study is to determine if routine activities are perceived by pacemaker Patients to interfere with their device function. Methods: A descriptive cross sectional survey was carried out on consecutive Patients at the pacemaker clinic at a public hospital in Karachi, Pakistan. A 47-question tool was developed and tested. Patients' perceptions of safety of performing various routine activities, along with sociodemographic data were recorded. Results: The final sample included 93 adult Patients (45% males). 41% were illiterate. 77.4% recalled receiving counselling at implantation, predominantly from the implanting physician and house staff. A considerable proportion of Patients considered many routine activities unsafe including driving automobiles (28%), passing through metal detectors (31%), bending over (37%), and sleeping on the side of the pacemaker (30%). Also considered unsafe were operation of household appliances-TV/VCR (television/video cassette recorders) (53%), irons (55%)) and electrical wall switches (56%). For nearly all variables neither literacy nor history of counselling improved incorrect perceptions. Conclusion: This study shows that our pacemaker Patients perceive many routine activities as unsafe, potentially leading to disabling life style modifications. The tremendous investment in pacemaker technology to improve Patient performance is not going to pay dividends if Patients continue to remain disabled due to incorrect perceptions. Further studies are required to determine the reasons for these misperceptions, and to determine if these problems also exist in, and hinder, other Patient populations.
BMC Cardiovascular Disorders
(2008). Pacemaker patients' perception of unsafe activities: a survey. BMC Cardiovascular Disorders, 8, 31-31.
Available at: http://ecommons.aku.edu/pakistan_fhs_mc_med_cardiol/26