A small device that is used to control the condition called abnormal heart rhythm is called a pacemaker. It is implanted in the abdomen or chest through a surgical procedure. The device controls the heart rhythm to a normal rate using low-energy electrical pulses. Pacemaker implantation helps in overall improvement of one’s quality of life. For many people, it is a lifesaving device. Pacemaker implantation is considered to be one of the most common kinds of heart surgery.
The pacemaker is a small box made of metal. It may weigh around 20-50g. Wires called pacing leads help the device to connect to the heart. Apart from the pacing leads, the pacemaker will also have the following features:
A tiny computer circuit and
A pulse generator.
The device sends electrical impulses to the heart. Discharge rate is the rate at which the electrical impulses are sent out. Pacemakers nowadays are manual and can be adjusted according to the needs of the patient. The pacemaker sends signals when it identifies an abnormal heart beat. A pacemaker implantation is suggested to an individual when he/she has:
A cardiac arrest
A heart block or
An abnormal heartbeat (either slow or fast)
The process of pacemaker implantation is comparatively simple. The patient will be under local anaesthesia throughout the procedure. The device is placed on the left portion of the chest. The pacemaker is attached to a wire which is directed through a blood vessel to the heart. The procedure may take around 1 hour to complete. The patient may not require a hospital stay more than one day. The patient will be able to return to normal activities shortly. Strenuous activities have not been recommended for a few weeks to allow the pacemaker to get fitted properly. Regular Checkups are suggested to check whether the device is working properly.
Pacemaker implantation is usually considered as a safe procedure with negligible risks and complications. The only thing to be worried about is that, the device may lose the ability to control the heartbeat. It may be due to any malfunction or changes in position of attached wires.