Top of the page
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 beneath the skin of your chest. One to three wires (called leads) connect the device to your heart. When the battery runs down, or if the device isn't working well, you may choose to have the device replaced.
The leads can be left in place and reconnected to your new device. But if your doctor thinks you need new leads, the doctor 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. The doctor 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: 3/1/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 2006-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. All rights reserved. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.