Pacemaker implantation today is minimally invasive surgery through the use of cardiac catheterization. Pacemakers consist of a pager-sized housing device that contains a battery and the electronic circuitry that runs the device, along with one or two long thin electrical wires that travel from the pacemaker to your heart. The pacemaker is implanted below the skin in your shoulder area and the thin wires (which conduct electrical impulses) are threaded from the pacemaker through a vein that runs in your chest, to your heart.
How will a pacemaker help my heart?
Pacemakers deliver electrical energy to the heart at precisely the right moment to keep it beating in a way that is as “normal” as possible. For many, pacemakers restore normal heart rhythm. For some, the arrhythmia may be too severe for a normal heart rhythm to be restored, but the pacemaker can at least come close.
Pacemakers “know” when to deliver electrical energy to the heart because they monitor every beat of your heart and respond according to how your doctor programmed it. The pacemaker monitors your heart’s activity and jumps in with stimulating (pacing) energy when an arrhythmia occurs.
Who should have a pacemaker implanted?
Pacemakers are a very safe way of dealing with specific arrhythmias. Although they’re implanted in the body, they only use electricity, which is the very substance the body would generate itself, if it could. The most common reason is when your heart is beating too slow or there are long pauses between heartbeats. Pacemakers, because they are so safe, are suitable for a wide range of people, from athletes to newborns to bedridden seniors.