Discharge & Follow-Up Care

Before you are discharged from the Day Unit, your doctor and nurse will go over follow-up care with you. They will tell you how to take care of the insertion site. Also, they will discuss any changes in your medications. This will also be a good time to talk about when you can drive and return to work.

Before you leave the Day Unit, you will need to have your intravenous line removed and you may require a prescription to take to your pharmacist.

In a week or so, you will receive in the mail from the Heart Institute a temporary registration card and confirmation of your follow-up appointment at the Pacemaker/Defibrillator Clinic.

Discharge Checklist

Before you leave, make sure you have received information about:

  • Medication changes
  • Activity over the next few weeks
  • Driving restrictions
  • Return to work

Caring for Your Insertion Site

The area around your insertion site, including the incision, must stay dry. Avoid taking a shower until it is well-healed—usually a week to 10 days. You may take a bath but keep the insertion site completely dry.

Remove the initial bandage two days after your procedure. Leave the area open—do not wash or put any creams or ointments on it. If you are more comfortable with the area covered, apply a small, dry gauze dressing with one piece of tape to keep it secure.

There are no stitches to be removed. Steri-strips (strips of tape) are used to help with healing. Do not remove the Steri-strips . The Steri-strips may start to loosen and come off on their own in five to seven days. If they remain after two weeks, gently remove them when they are damp after a shower.

Mild discomfort at the insertion site is normal and may be tr eated with acetaminophen (Tylenol®) as directed on the bottle. If your pain is not decreasing, call the Pacemaker/Defibrillator Clinic. You may need a stronger pain medication.

Check the insertion site every day and call the Pacemaker/Defibrillator Clinic at 613-696-7076 if you have any of these problems:

  • A lump that keeps getting bigger
  • Redness, tenderness or warmth around the incision
  • Yellow pus or other fluid seeping from the incision
  • Severe pain at the incision site
  • Chills or fever


Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at 613-696-7076.

If you need to speak with someone after hours, the nursing coordinator can be
reached any time at 613-696-7000. Press 0 and ask for the nursing coordinator.


Activity Guidelines

It can take up to four weeks for the pacemaker leads inside your heart to become firmly embedded. To avoid dislodging the leads, follow these activity guidelines:

First 24 hours Avoid moving your shoulder on the side of the insertion. You can bend your elbow.
First two weeks Do not lift your affected arm over your head.  After the first 24 hours, you can move your arm freely below your shoulder.
First four weeks

Do not lift anything heavier than 10 lbs. (5 kg).


Avoid any kind of sports or other vigorous activities, such as golf, tennis, swimming or sweeping. 

After two weeks, you can begin to do most of the regular activities you did before the procedure.
First eight weeks Avoid any kind of shovelling. After four weeks, you can begin to do all of the regular activities you did before the procedure. 



Do not drive for the first week following your procedure. Some patients cannot drive for a longer period of time. It is important that you talk to your doctor about when you will be able to drive again. If you are in doubt, please be on the safe side and do not drive. Ask about driving at your first clinic appointment.

Follow-Up Appointment at the Pacemaker/Defibrillator Clinic

You will need to be seen in the Pacemaker/Defibrillator Clinic within two to four weeks after your pacemaker insertion.

You will receive a follow-up appointment card from the Pacemaker/Defibrillator Clinic within a week. If you do not receive an appointment card, call the clinic at 613-696-7076.

At the same time, please schedule an appointment with your family doctor to talk about your pacemaker and how it may affect any other health problems you have.