What it’s for
Pacemakers are used in patients who have bradycardia—a slow heart beat. When the pacemaker detects that your heart rate is too slow, it emits electrical impulses. Each of these impulses triggers your heart to beat, helping it to speed up and attain a more regular rhythm.
How it’s done
Pacemakers are implanted during a simple surgical procedure. The implantation of a pacemaker is done by an electrophysiologist, a doctor who specializes in heart rhythm disorders.
Patient is given medication through an IV to help relax, but remains awake during the procedure. An anesthetic is also given to numb the skin at the site of the incision. The heart rate and blood pressure are monitored throughout the procedure.
An incision is made just under the left collarbone. The leads (wires) from the pacemaker are directed down the veins until they make contact with the heart. The other ends of the leads attach to the generator of the pacemaker, which is placed in a pocket created beneath the skin.
The surgery to place a pacemaker typically takes from 2-3 hours.
When the pacemaker is operational, it will monitor the heart to determine if it is beating too slow. If it detects a slow heart beat, the pacemaker will emit a series of electrical impulses to bring the heart back up to a normal pace.
The surgery to have a pacemaker implanted is considered very safe and complications are rare. The following are some of the risks of having a pacemaker implanted:
· Allergic reaction to medications
· Bleeding or bruising
· Damage to veins
· Bleeding around the heart
· Blood leaking in heart at the site of leads