Canadian Cardiovascular Society/Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society/Canadian Heart Rhythm Society Joint Position Statement on the Perioperative Management of Patients With Implanted Pacemakers, Defibrillators, and Neurostimulating Devices Journal Articles uri icon

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  • There are more than 200,000 Canadians living with permanent pacemakers or implantable defibrillators, many of whom will require surgery or invasive procedures each year. They face potential hazards when undergoing surgery; however, with appropriate planning and education of operating room personnel, adverse device-related outcomes should be rare. This joint position statement from the Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS) and the Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society (CAS) has been developed as an accessible reference for physicians and surgeons, providing an overview of the key issues for the preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative care of these patients. The document summarizes the limited published literature in this field, but for most issues, relies heavily on the experience of the cardiologists and anesthesiologists who contributed to this work. This position statement outlines how to obtain information about an individual's type of pacemaker or implantable defibrillator and its programming. It also stresses the importance of determining if a patient is highly pacemaker-dependent and proposes a simple approach for nonelective evaluation of dependency. Although the document provides a comprehensive list of the intraoperative issues facing these patients, there is a focus on electromagnetic interference resulting from electrocautery and practical guidance is given regarding the characteristics of surgery, electrocautery, pacemakers, and defibrillators which are most likely to lead to interference. The document stresses the importance of preoperative consultation and planning to minimize complications. It reviews the relative merits of intraoperative magnet use vs reprogramming of devices and gives examples of situations where one or the other approach is preferable.


  • Healey, Jeffrey Sean
  • Merchant, Richard
  • Simpson, Chris
  • Tang, Timothy
  • Beardsall, Marianne
  • Tung, Stanley
  • Fraser, Jennifer A
  • Long, Laurene
  • van Vlymen, Janet M
  • Manninen, Pirjo
  • Ralley, Fiona
  • Venkatraghavan, Lashmi
  • Yee, Raymond
  • Prasloski, Bruce
  • Sanatani, Shubhayan
  • Philippon, Fran├žois

publication date

  • March 2012