What is a Pacemaker?
A pacemaker is a device that is implanted under the skin to help control an individual’s heartbeat (or pulse rate). This device helps patients who are suffering from a slow heart beat resulting in dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath, chest pain or exercise intolerance. A pacemaker sends signals to the heart that prevent it from beating too slowly.
Why do you need a Pacemaker?
A pacemaker may relieve the following symptoms:
● Unexplained Fainting
● Trouble Breathing
● Dizziness or lightheadedness
● Dazed, confused, or tiredness
● Feeling of heart pounding
How do they work?
In general one (single chamber) or two (dual chamber) wires called leads are placed into the heart from a vein near the shoulder. The leads are then attached to a pacemaker (about the size of a large silver dollar) that is permanently placed under the skin. The leads and pacemaker work together to monitor your heart rate all the time. If your heart rate becomes too slow, the pacemaker will send an electrical impulse to your heart to make it beat faster. These electrical impulses are painless and unnoticeable. This should relieve your symptoms.
You must have been fasting that day, and Dr. Ahuja will review pre-operative instructions and medications with you prior to the procedure. The pacemaker procedure is performed in the hospital in a sterile room called an electrophysiology lab (EP lab). The room is similar to an operating room. Nurses and anesthesiology will introduce themselves, and prep you for the procedure. After your shoulder area is prepared and cleaned under sterile conditions, mild conscious sedation and local anesthesia will be given near the shoulder.
A small incision is then made near the shoulder so Dr. Ahuja can find the vein through which the pacemaker leads will be inserted. The leads are then attached to a pacemaker, which will be placed under the skin and soft tissue. The position of the leads and pacemaker are checked in real time through an X-ray machine. The procedure takes a little less than an hour. Sutures are used that self- dissolve (nothing to remove later) and a mild glue is used on the superficial skin.
Recovery from surgery is relatively quick. Almost all patients are discharged home the next morning after spending one night in the hospital for observation and antibiotics. All post-operative instructions and appointments will be reviewed by Dr. Ahuja after the procedure. The pacemaker will then have to be checked periodically in the office 2-3 times per year.
Schedule a consultation
If you or someone you know suffers from an irregular heartbeat, contact Premier Cardiology Consultants at 516-437- 5600 to schedule a consultation with our electrophysiologist Dr. Ahuja.