A pacemaker is a device that is implanted under the skin to help control an individual’s heart beat. This device is often used in people who have an abnormally slow heart beat. A pacemaker sends signals to the heart that help it to beat at the correct and healthy rate. A pacemaker helps to track the heartbeat and maintain an adequate heart beat frequency to allow oxygen and nutrients to flow through the body. When indicated, a pacemaker will help prevent fainting or improve your exercise tolerance. In addition to regular pacemakers, Dr. Ahuja is certified to also implant the new leadless pacemaker (Micra by Medtronic).
An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is an electronic device that is implanted under the skin, and is used to detect and treat abnormal rhythms called ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation. An ICD uses electrical impulses to control dangerous arrhythmias that may lead to fainting or sudden cardiac arrest. If an abnormal heart rhythm is detected, the ICD will deliver an internal electric shock to the heart, restoring the normal heart rhythm, therefore preventing sudden death. In addition to regular ICDs, Dr. Ahuja also implants the subcutaneous ICD (S-ICD by Boston Scientific).
An implantable loop recorder (ILR) is a small device that continuously monitors heart rhythms and records them both automatically and/or by using a hand-held patient assistant. An ILR is designed to help Dr. Ahuja quickly diagnose and treat abnormal heart rhythms that may be related to unexplained fainting, dizziness, palpitations, or strokes.
- An ILR is surgically placed just under the skin of your left chest
- An ILR is very small, and often not visible in most patients
- It automatically detects and records abnormal heart rhythms for up to 3 years
- It’s safe for use in an MRI setting
The ILR is implanted in a sterile operating room such as the Electrophysiology Lab. A small amount of sedation can be administered to reduce anxiety. The skin will be cleaned to make sure the procedure is done under sterile conditions. Local pain medication will be given over the operative site. Next Dr. Ahuja will create a small “cut” in the skin, through which the ILR is implanted. The “cut” is closed with 1 absorbable suture, and then covered with liquid glue or a small sterile dressing. The procedure takes 5-15 minutes, and patients can go home the same day. Once the ILR is inserted, it is programmed to continuously monitor your heart rhythm. When your symptoms occur (such as a fainting spell), you or your family member can immediately place the small hand-held patient assistant over the device and press the record symptoms (heart-shaped) button. This triggers the device to record the heart’s rhythms before, during, and after the symptoms. After you have recorded a fainting spell, the recording will be sent to Dr. Ahuja through your home monitoring system. He will call you if your heart rhythm is abnormal. The device will start recording your heart rhythm instantly. When you setup your home monitor, the transmissions will be automatically sent to Dr. Ahuja. A routine appointment will be made 4-6 weeks after implantation to make sure the wound is healing properly. After that appointments are usually made every 6 months to review the findings on the ILR. If an abnormal heart rhythm is found, Dr. Ahuja will contact you over the phone to discuss the results.
For more information or to make an appointment for a cardiac evaluation. it’s about time!