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Pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) are battery-powered devices that are implanted in the body to treat heart rhythm problems. Your device is placed just beneath the skin of your chest. Wires (called leads) connect the device to your heart. When the battery runs down, or if the device isn't working well, the device will need to be replaced.
The leads can be left in place and reconnected to your new device. But if your doctor thinks you need new leads, he or she can replace them at the same time.
You will get medicine before the procedure. This helps you relax and helps prevent pain. You may also get an antibiotic to help prevent infection. The doctor will make a cut in the skin next to your device. He or she will remove the device and put a new one in its place. The doctor will then attach the leads to the device. The cut will be closed with stitches, tape, or a special glue.
The procedure usually takes about an hour. You may go home the same day. If the leads were replaced, you may need to spend the night in the hospital.
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
Adaptation Date: 5/5/2021
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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