Can a pacemaker be turned off or removed?

A fellow caregiver asked...

Can a pacemaker be switched off? Once fitted, can a pacemaker be removed?

Expert Answer

Carolyn Strimike, N.P. and Margie Latrella, N.P. are cardiac nurse practitioners specializing in the prevention of heart disease and stroke. They have over 40 years of nursing experience in Cardiology between them. The main goal of their work is to counsel, motivate and empower women to adopt healthy lifestyle choices.

Yes, a pacemaker can be both switched off or removed. The procedure to switch off a pacemaker is quite simple and only involves placing a magnet on the skin over the pacemaker and programming the pacemaker to be "off."

Pacemakers can also be removed, but this of course is more of an invasive, surgical procedure as compared to turning it off.