Apple Watch or Fitbit

I had a PM installed 3/4/19 and have some questions about wearing an Apple Watch or Fitbit for self-monitoring and general travel. Obviously I do not have a clear understanding how this all works. 

1. Will the devices interfere with my PM?

2. If not, which one offers the best information?

3. Do I carry my Merlin Transmitter with me when I stay in a motel?

4. How am I monitored during the day when I am outside, shopping, or riding in a car?

Thank you for helping me!



by AgentX86 - 2019-03-17 13:32:44

1. No. Wearables are perfectly safe.

2. Apple. Both. Neither. What are you looking to monitor? Why? If the point is to make sure that your pacemaker is doing the right thing. Don't! You'll be fine. If you're going to be exercising and want to track that, fine. Either will work. If you have Apple computers and phone, buy an Apple watch. Otherwise, something else.

3. No reason to. If you have problems you can go to any hospital and probably more fire or EMT stations. Don't obsess over this.

4. You aren't. Don't obsess over your pacemaker. You'll be fine.


by IAN MC - 2019-03-17 14:10:48

Agent is absolutely right.

The vast majority of the world pacemaker population do not have any transmitter / monitoring devices and don't feel any need to have Fitbits or Apple watches  ( I am one of them ! )

Enjoy your new more healthy heart rate



30 years in

by dwelch - 2019-03-21 03:18:00

I am over 30 years in with devices, my first two had not heard of a montor would see the doc once a year, every so many of those, the doc would say "hmm...what are you doing next week". then the magnet phone things which I used like two times a year maybe three.  for decades.  then I turned down the new deal, not interested.  

your pacer doesnt need monitoring.  you are the monitor you will know when it messes up and the merlin isnt going to inform the doctor any faster than you can.  so you dont need to worry about being away from it.

with pacers our elecrical system is no longer normal, dont expect any of the heart rate monitors to work right, if they happen to then good, otherwise it wasnt expected to work anyway.  for heart rate monitoring.  next time you are on an ekg have the doc show you want yours looks like vs what a normal one looks like.  thats why these relatively inexpensive (compared to ekg equipment) dont work.  Now saying that the ones that stick on your finger and shine a light through, yeah those should work but do you want to walk around with that strapped on your finger all the time?

watches and fitness trackers, these dont interfere with the pacer it is harder than you think to interfere with it.  put a strong magnet, stronger than a fridge magnet by quite a bit over it, or go hug a high power transformer on a telephone pole, yeah those will interfere with the pacer.   and well the merlin interferes with your pacer, but phones, watches, hair dryers, electric razors, no worries with that stuff...




pick what you like

by Uelrindru - 2019-03-21 13:01:22

I had a Fitbit before I had my heartattack and vfib incidents. I haven't stopped wearing it and no problems so far. I keep an eye on my heart rate over the course of a day. it's just a habit since I dont have symptoms and I was already doing it anyway and you can compare it to you're beats when you get hooked up at a doctors visit. mine is off 10ish beats usually.

The apple series 4 ekg strap excites me but I need more research before I make that leap.

The interrogator thing is left behind for me all the time when I go out of time. If you're worried you missed a report you can manually send it when you get home. it sends them itself every three months. During the day you're on your own, dont sweat it to much and trust me you will have the stupidest freak outside all the time for the first month or so but it's ok everyone does.

Fitbit readings

by alanr1303 - 2019-04-01 07:30:10

I was admitted to hospital following a suspicious ECG at my GPs surgery. I was hooked up to a heart monitor with electrodes attached to my chest. I was monitored for 3 days before my pacemaker was fitted. During this time I found that the "real" monitor was indicating a rate of 30-35 and the Fitbit 60-70. I suspect the fitbit relies on a "normal" heart pattern. I guess that with a pacemaker the heart pattern should be normalised, so the fitbit should work correctly.

Apple Watch is amazing

by CyborgMike - 2019-04-10 22:35:50

The new series four Apple watch is amazing at what it tracks and what you can see related to the heart. Hopefully, you don't need to check it often, but when you do want to check it is incredible. As Alan said, a heart in fib or tach might not register correctly on any simple heart rate monitor, since it cant get a lock on the PQRST wave. The new Apple Watch has a built in ecg. When I suspect there is something funky going on I look at it with the ecg. I often find junctional rhythms or PVCs when exercising that I can ask my EP about, by showing him a high resolution one lead ecg. The ecg is very accurate and a picture is worth a lot in this business.

The Apple Watch also provides very good exercise HR data, so I can see if something went funky while exercising. 

Downside is that it is not cheap and requires an iphone. good luck!

I use an Apple Watch

by RocketTom - 2019-04-28 16:25:39

The Apple Watch (wifi only) uses blue tooth to communicate to your iPhone, no problem there. It uses an optical device to monitor your heart rate, no interferrence there. It is a problem if you have a tattoo or bad bruse where the watch goes. The iWatch 4 does have a device on the crown where you can put your finger on it and it will monitor you via the electrical signals off of the heart coupled with the blood flow - but mine paces all the time so the indication is always incorrect. Nothing to fear with having an iWatch or Fitbit on to interfer with the PM. Instead, the PM can interfer with the watch!

Oh, and...

by RocketTom - 2019-04-28 16:32:08

Oh, and I do carry my monitor if I'm traveling for an extended period of time. I have a phobia about accidently leaving it behind, so I'm always careful with it. Boston Scientific doesn't like to go over 14 days without the monitor reporting, so that is really the determining factor if I bring it along on a long trip.

As to monitoring during every day tasks, the PM has quite a bit of smarts and memory built in and does the monitoring internally. The Merlin will report if there was anything serious when it does it's magic. When you go in to have the device is interrogated, they can tell you at what time/date there was any kind of problem. The device will work, and monitoring is simply that. Having this thing implanted for your heart is a new and scary thing - but it will work as expected. Don't stress out over it!!!!!

You know you're wired when...

You can finally prove that you have a heart.

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