Stethoscope on the Cardiogram

Pacemaker

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A pacemaker is a small device that's placed under the skin in your chest to help control your heartbeat. It's used to help your heart beat more regularly if you have an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), particularly a slow one. Implanting a pacemaker in your chest requires a surgical procedure.

Types of pacemakers

Depending on patient's condition, He might have one of the following types of pacemakers.

  • Single chamber pacemaker. This type usually carries electrical impulses to the right ventricle of the heart.

  • Dual chamber pacemaker. This type carries electrical impulses to the right ventricle and the right atrium of heart to help control the timing of contractions between the two chambers.

  • Biventricular pacemaker. Biventricular pacing, also called cardiac resynchronization therapy, is for people with heart failure with abnormal electrical systems. This type of pacemaker stimulates the lower chambers of the heart (the right and left ventricles) to make the heart beat more efficiently.

Why it's done

Pacemakers are implanted to help control heartbeat. They can be implanted temporarily to treat a slow heartbeat after a heart attack, surgery or medication overdose. Or they can be implanted permanently to correct a slow or irregular heartbeat or, in some people, to help treat heart failure.

What a pacemaker does

  • Pulse generator. This small metal container houses a battery and the electrical circuitry that regulates the rate of electrical pulses sent to heart.

  • Leads (electrodes). One to three flexible, insulated wires are each placed in a chamber, or chambers, of heart and deliver the electrical pulses to adjust heart rate.

During the procedure

One or more flexible, insulated wires are inserted into a major vein under or near collarbone and guided to heart using X-ray images. One end of each wire is secured to the appropriate position in heart, while the other end is attached to the pulse generator, which is usually implanted under the skin beneath collarbone.