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A biventricular pacemaker (say "by-ven-TRICK-yuh-ler") is a device used to treat heart failure. Treatment that uses this type of pacemaker is called cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT).
When you have heart failure, the lower chambers of your heart may not pump at the same time. The pacemaker sends painless electrical signals to your heart. These signals make the chambers pump at the same time. This can help your heart pump blood better and help you feel better.
Your pacemaker may be combined with an ICD, or implantable cardioverter-defibrillator. It can control abnormal heart rhythms. This can prevent sudden death.
You will get medicine to help you relax and 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 different chambers of the heart. The doctor will place the pacemaker under the skin of your chest. The leads are then attached to the pacemaker. Then the cut will be closed with stitches.
The procedure usually takes 2 to 3 hours. You may need to spend the night in the hospital.
Pacemaker batteries usually last 5 to 15 years. Your doctor will tell you 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 may feel worried about having a pacemaker. This is common. You might feel better if you learn ways to relax. And it can help if you learn about how the pacemaker helps your heart. Talk to your doctor about your concerns.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.
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Current as of: December 16, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & George Philippides MD - Cardiology
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