What is pacemaker placement?
A pacemaker is a small, battery-powered device. It sends electrical signals to the heart. This keeps the heartbeat steady when you have bradycardia (a slow heart rate). Thin wires, called leads, carry the signals between the pacemaker and the heart.
You will get medicine before the procedure. This helps you relax and helps prevent pain. The doctor will make a cut in the skin just below your collarbone. The cut may be on either side of your chest. The doctor will put the pacemaker leads through the cut. The leads go into a large blood vessel in the upper chest. Then the doctor will guide the leads through the blood vessel into the heart. The doctor will place the pacemaker under the skin of your chest. The doctor will attach the leads to the pacemaker. Then the cut will be closed.
The procedure may take about 1 or 2 hours. You may need to spend the night in the hospital.
Pacemaker batteries may last about 10 years. Your doctor will talk to you about how often you will need to have your pacemaker and battery checked.
You can likely return to many of your normal activities after your procedure. You will need to be careful with certain electric devices. You will be given more information after getting your pacemaker.
If you are worried about having a pacemaker, it may help if you learn about how the pacemaker helps your heart. Talk to your doctor about your questions and concerns.
How do you prepare for the procedure?
Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.
Preparing for the procedure
- Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
- Understand exactly what procedure is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
- If you take aspirin or some other blood thinner, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if you should stop taking it before your procedure. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
- Tell your doctor ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your procedure. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the procedure and how soon to do it.
- Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance care plan. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It's a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.
Where can you learn more?
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
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