A pacemaker is a small, battery-powered device. It sends electrical signals to the heart. This keeps the heartbeat steady. Thin wires, called leads, carry the signals between the pacemaker and the heart. This device is also called a pacer.
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. He or she will attach the leads to the pacemaker. Then the cut will be closed with stitches.
The procedure usually takes about an hour. You will probably go home the same day.
Pacemaker batteries usually last 5 years or more. 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. But to stay safe, you may need to make some changes in your normal routine.
You may feel worried about having a pacemaker. This is common. You might feel better if you learn techniques to help you relax. And it can help if you learn about how the pacemaker helps your heart. Talk to your doctor about your questions and 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 or nurse call line 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: September 21, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & John M. Miller, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
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