What You Need to Know:
A pacemaker is a small device placed in your chest. It helps control your heartbeat. You may need a pacemaker if your heartbeat is too slow, too fast or irregular. A pacemaker is about the size of a large wristwatch. It is made up of flexible wires (leads) with sensors, a battery, pulse generator and a small computer. The sensors measure your heartbeat. They send this information to the computer. The computer causes the generator to send electrical impulses to your heart. This makes your heart beat correctly. Some pacemakers can also record your heart rate and rhythm.
Before The Procedure
Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for the procedure. Your healthcare provider may order a blood test, chest x-ray or other tests before your procedure. These tests will help your provider plan your procedure. Your healthcare provider may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your procedure. You will be told what medicines to take or not take on the day of your procedure. You may be given an antibiotic to prevent infection. Tell a healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic.
Your healthcare provider will insert a needle into a large vein in your chest or neck. Next, wires will be guided through the needle and into your heart. Your healthcare provider will make an incision in your chest and insert the pacemaker. The wires in your heart will be connected to the pacemaker. Your healthcare providers will make sure the pacemaker is working correctly. Your incisions will be closed with stitches, medical glue or steri-strips. They will be covered with a bandage.
After Your Procedure
Healthcare providers will monitor your heartbeat. You may need a chest x-ray and an EKG. These tests will make sure your pacemaker is in the correct position and working correctly. You may have bruising or pain near your incision. This should get better in a few days. You may need to spend a night in the hospital.
Risks associated with pacemaker system implant include, but are not limited to, infection at the surgical site and/ or sensitivity to the device material, failure to deliver therapy when it is needed or receiving extra therapy when it is not needed.
After receiving an implantable pacemaker system, you will have limitations with respect to magnetic and electromagnetic fields, electric or gas-powered appliances and tools with which you are allowed to be in contact.
By regulating the heart’s rhythm, a pacemaker can often eliminate the symptoms of bradycardia. This means individuals often have more energy and less shortness of breath. However, a pacemaker is not a cure. It will not prevent or stop heart disease, nor will it prevent heart attacks.
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