Centuries before the first implantable pacemaker arrived on scene in 1958, medical pioneers such as Hippocrates, and even revered philosophers like Aristotle, were interested in how heart rhythms affected one’s physical health and overall wellbeing.
Great advances in medical technology, combined with a better understanding of how the heart works, give today’s heart specialists numerous treatment options designed to control your heartbeat most effectively.
As a result, modern pacemakers used to correct irregular heart rhythms and treat debilitating conditions like heart failure can safely prolong your life and significantly improve its quality.
The top-rated specialists at Premier Cardiology Consultants, with four locations convenient to residents of New York City and its surrounding communities, have earned a stellar reputation for providing cutting-edge cardiac care in a warm and welcoming, patient-first environment.
Read what these widely respected experts have to say about pacemakers and the symptoms that indicate you might need one.
What does a pacemaker do?
Your heart relies on electrical signals (neurotransmitters) from your brain as well as structures within the heart itself to maintain the pumping action required to circulate blood throughout your body. Normally, your heart beats about 100,000 times a day at a steady rate and rhythm of 90-110 beats per minute.
Irregular beats (arrhythmias) and conditions like heart failure or heart block can interfere with the heart’s rhythmic beat; this, in turn, results in insufficient blood for your muscles, brain, and other vital organs and bodily structures.
A pacemaker is a small, battery-operated, computer-driven device that’s typically implanted just beneath your skin, usually in the chest area right under the collarbone. Small wires (electrodes) connect the pacemaker to your heart.
When the pacemaker’s computer senses an abnormal rhythm, it sends electrical signals through the attached electrodes to your heart, jump-starting it back into an appropriately timed beat.
A pacemaker can be programmed to act during episodes of bradycardia (an excessively slow beat), atrial fibrillation (a fast, fluttery heart rhythm), or cardiac arrest (cessation of the beat altogether).
In the case of congestive heart failure (CHF), a special pacemaker, known as a “biventricular pacemaker,” can also be used to help increase your heart’s ejection fraction (pumping force), which is often severely compromised by CHF.
What symptoms might indicate I need a pacemaker?
At Premier Cardiology Consultants, our specialists excel at correctly identifying conditions that may benefit from pacemaker placement.
Symptoms that may indicate the need for further cardiac evaluation and possible pacemaker treatment include one or more of the following:
- An overall sense of fatigue that makes it difficult to complete even simple daily tasks
- Dizziness and lightheadedness that may occur only with standing or become relatively constant
- Muscle weakness in your arms and/or legs
- Shortness of breath that may occur with light physical activity or no activity at all
- Feeling of mental confusion, due to lack of oxygenated blood to the brain
- Sensation that your heart is fluttering or pounding
- Pulse rate under 90
Persistent edema/swelling in the feet/ankles, legs, and/or abdomen, which are symptoms of CHF, can also signal the need for treatment that may include a pacemaker.
For a comprehensive cardiac evaluation and personalized treatment strategy that may include a pacemaker, schedule a consultation by calling us at any of our locations or scheduling a visit online. We’re here to help.