Pacemaker Insertion

Animation Movie Available The Pacemaker Implant Procedure

Definition

This is a procedure to insert an artificial pacemaker. A pacemaker is a small, battery-operated device. It helps maintain a normal heartbeat by sending electrical impulses to the heart.
Pacemaker Insertion
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Reasons for Procedure

A pacemaker can be inserted when:
  • The body's natural pacemaker, the sinoatrial (SA) node, is not working properly—this can cause the heart to beat too slowly
  • There are malfunctions in the atrioventricular (AV) node, which is the part of the heart’s electrical system that sends signals from the SA node to the ventricles—this leads to a slow heartbeat
  • Heart performance in people with severe symptoms of congestive heart failure and a weakened heart muscle, known as cardiomyopathy, needs to be improved—his is called biventricular pacing, or cardiac resynchronization therapy
  • Cardiac surgery is being done

Possible Complications

Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a pacemaker inserted, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
  • Excess bleeding
  • Infection
  • Pacemaker malfunction
  • Rupture in the heart muscle—rare
  • Inappropriate stimulation of the diaphragm, which is the large muscle between chest and abdominal cavities
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
  • Obesity
  • History of smoking
  • History of excess alcohol consumption
  • Bleeding or blood-clotting irregularities
  • Regular use of some medications
  • Chronic disease
Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the procedure.

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