A pacemaker is a small, battery operated device. Cardiologist implants pacemaker in the chest to manage or control irregular heartbeats or abnormal heart rhythms. Pacemaker is used to treat arrhythmias. In arrhythmias heart beats too fast, too slow or with irregular rhythms. It sends signal to the heart to beat at a normal rate.

There are now various grades of pacemaker

1) Single chamber/ dual chamber pacemaker
3) CRT-D

Why pacemaker is needed?

1) Pacemaker is needed if heart is pumping too slowly. This can cause fatigue, fainting, shortness of breath, organ failure and eventual death.
2) Pacemaker regulates body’s electrical system which controls heart rhythm.
3) Pacemaker can track and record heartbeat. This record is very helpful to the Cardiologists for better understanding of arrhythmia.

Diagnostic test

Many tests are used to detect arrhythmias before performing pacemaker surgery

1) Electrocardiogram (ECG)
2) Holter Monitor
3) Stress Test

How pacemaker surgery is performed?

  • Local anesthetic numbs the incision site.
  • A small incision, approximately 5 cm long is made in the upper below the clavicle.
  • A lead (thin insulated wire) is inserted through the vein into the heart.
  • Cardiologist monitors the process with the help of X ray machine.
  • An electrode is attached to the heart’s right ventricle.
  • Cardiologist connects the lead to the pulse generator and programs the device.
  • The pacemaker generator is then inserted beneath the skin.
  • Doctor tests the pacemaker to ensure it is working properly.
  • The incision is then closed with stitches.

What happens after pacemaker surgery?

  • Pacemaker surgery takes around one or two hours. Patient can go home on the third day or sometimes doctor asks patient to stay in the hospital further.
  • Cardiologist makes sure the pacemaker is programmed properly or not. Doctor can also change the program as per the needs during follow-up appointments.
  • Patient should take medicines as per prescription.
  • Patient should not perform any kind of heavy exercises.
  • Patient should avoid below devices which can interfere with pacemaker
  • Mobile or MP3 player
  • Microwave ovens
  • High tension wires
  • Metal detectors
  • Welding machines
  • Electrical generators

Pacemaker surgery is not risky. Today with the help of advanced medical technology, Cardiologist can perform surgery easily and efficiently. In pacemaker surgery, life threatening complications are very rare.

Pacemaker battery can last between 5 to 15 years. Cardiologist tells the patient whether pacemaker or its wires need any replacement or not.