A pacemaker is a small device. It senses your heart rhythm and sends electrical signals (impulses) to your heart as needed. This helps maintain a safe heart rate (pulse).

Leadless Pacemaker

This pacemaker is smaller than a normal pacemaker and has no leads. It is about the size of a large multivitamin. To place this pacemaker, a vein in your groin is used to get to the lower part (right ventricle) of your heart.

The Day Before Surgery

A nurse will call you the day before surgery (or the Friday before a Monday surgery). The nurse will review your instructions and tell you what time to arrive. If you do not hear from us by 4 pm, please call:

If you feel sick or have a fever over 100°F the day before surgery, call the clinic.

The Day of Surgery

Before the procedure starts, you may have blood drawn for labs. You will have an IV placed in your hand or arm. If needed, a small area around the surgical sites will be shaved. Your skin will be cleaned with a special soap. You may receive antibiotics through your IV to help prevent infection.

Your doctor will decide whether you will have general anesthesia or conscious sedation.

Sterile drapes will cover you from your neck to your feet so that only the surgical site is exposed.

The Procedure

A long, thin tube called a catheter is placed into a large vein in your groin through a small incision. This tube contains the leadless pacemaker. It is threaded up the vein into the lower right side of your heart (right ventricle) using x-ray. Once it is in the correct position, the pacemaker is attached to the heart muscle. The pacemaker is tested to make sure it is in the correct location and working. The tube is then removed. The incision is closed with a suture. The whole process takes 1-3 hours.

Going Home

You may go home the same day or stay in the hospital overnight. Your device will be checked before you leave, and you may have an x-ray. We will review discharge instructions with you.

You cannot drive yourself home. You need to arrange for someone to drive you home. You can resume driving after 1 week.


  • Do not lift more than 10 pounds (i.e. a gallon of milk) for 7 days.

  • Do not strain or do any vigorous activity for 7 days.

  • Avoid dental work for 1 month.

Incision Care

It is important that you take care of your incision to prevent an infection.

  • Keep the site clean and dry.

  • Do not shower for 24 hours. Then, remove the bandage over the implant access site before taking a shower.

  • Do not soak in a bathtub, hot tub or go into a swimming pool, lake, or river until your groin site is completely healed.


Look at the site daily for signs of infection:

  • Redness

  • Swelling

  • Fever (101°F or higher)

  • Drainage

  • Tenderness

  • Warm to touch


You may take a mild pain medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Motrin®) for any pain. You may also apply an ice pack. Ibuprofen or other NSAID medicines increase your risk of bleeding. You may want to avoid them if you are taking a blood thinner.

Device ID Card

You will receive a temporary ID card and will receive your permanent card in about 2 months. Carry your card with you all the time. Tell your health and dental care providers that you have a permanent cardiac device.

Electrical Hazards

You will need to avoid certain types of electrical devices. For more information, call your device company.

Avoid working under the hood of a running car. Avoid doing arc welding.


  • Therapeutic radiation machines.

  • Electrocautery: Ask your doctor if you will need electrocautery for a procedure in the operating room or the dentist’s office.

  • Cell phones: Keep cell phones at least 6 inches from your device. Place the phone on the ear opposite of your device or use a headset.

  • Theft detection devices: These are often around the entrances of stores. Walk through them as you normally would. Do not linger near these.

  • Airport security: Tell security staff you have a device. Show them your Medical Device ID card.

  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). Discuss with your doctor before having an MRI.

Safe Devices

  • Microwaves

  • Hair dryers

  • Electric blankets and heating pads

  • Computers

  • Radios, TVs, and stereos

Follow-up Visit

After your first visit, your device will be checked every 3-4 months either in clinic or with home remote checks.

When to Call

  • If you feel lightheaded, pass out or if your symptoms return that you had before your device.

  • You have any signs of infection.

Who to Call

UW Heart and Vascular Clinic
Monday – Friday, 8:00 am- 4:30 pm
608-263-1530 or 1-800-323-8942
After hours, nights, weekend, and holidays this number will give you the paging operator. Ask for the cardiology fellow on call. Give your full name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.

For questions about your device call the device company.

  • Medtronic: 1-800-633-8766

  • Boston Scientific: 1-800-227-3422

  • St. Jude/Abbott: 1-800-722-3423

  • Biotronik: 1-800-547-0394