Can You Do CPR on Someone With a Pacemaker?


A lot going on during an emergency. Tempers might flare and it’s tough to remain clear-headed in an intense situation.

This is true even if the person is lying unresponsive in front of you. If you have previous CPR and first aid training, shouldn’t you save a life whenever possible? You need to play it smart, though.

Specifically, can you do CPR on someone with a pacemaker or other medical device? What’s the process and how much do you need to know ahead of time?

Keep reading as we uncover what you should know! Let’s begin!

Be Sure to Check for a Medic Alert Tag

The AHA states that if a person has a pacemaker, CPR should not be done traditionally due to the risk of damaging it. This machine sends an electric shock to the heart to help it to beat correctly.

So instead of chest compressions, external defibrillation should be used. Also, a medic alert tag may contain important information about the person’s device and what kind of CPR is needed.

This is the reason why it’s crucial to read the tag and take the appropriate steps to ensure that you are giving the best medical care applicable.

Also read: Erectile Dysfunction-Friendly Foods and Exercises

Use an Automated External Defibrillator

CPR can be effective at restarting the heart, but it could also cause damage to the pacemaker. However, if an AED is available, it should be used instead.

An AED is a safe and efficient way to restart a heart with an implanted pacemaker. When using this, you need to make sure that the pads are placed away from the pacemaker so that the electricity is not conducted through it.

So, while CPR is not recommended for someone with a pacemaker, an AED could be used in specific cases with the guidance of a medical professional.

Avoid Pushing Directly Over the Pacemaker Site

You must avoid pushing directly over the pacemaker site when performing CPR on someone with this device. Also, you need to identify the pacemaker site before starting CPR.

Usually, it is located in the chest and is easily identifiable. As such, when performing CPR on a pacemaker patient, you should place one of your hands so that it is on the side of the pacemaker.

This will ensure that you do not disrupt the electrical pulse created by the pacemaker.

Don’t Forget to Check for an Underlying Cause

If a person with a pacemaker becomes unresponsive, the first step is to check for an underlying cause. This could be:

  • A heart attack
  • Arrhythmia
  • Asphyxia

If the cause is determined to be cardiovascular, then CPR can be performed. Furthermore, certain devices have a “hands-off” mode which shuts off the pacemaker when a shock is delivered. This mode should be used in the case of CPR.

Keep in mind that it’s still best to always follow up with medical attention, regardless of the cause of the arrest. If you want to know how to learn CPR, visit MyCPR NOW for more insights.

So, Can You Do CPR on Someone With a Pacemaker?

Can you do CPR on someone with a pacemaker? Yes, CPR can be performed on someone with a pacemaker. However, it is important to take standard precautions into account to ensure it is done safely.

Remember, it is always better to attempt CPR than not in an emergency. Save a life today and learn more about CPR!

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