A pacemaker is a small device that uses weak electrical pulses to regulate the patient’s heartbeat. The doctor implants the pacemaker in the patient’s chest or abdomen. There are various reasons why an individual may want to consider pacemaker implantation.
Who Needs a Pacemaker?
Pacemakers are used to treat arrhythmias, or abnormal heart rhythms. In an arrhythmia, the patient’s heart might beat too slowly or too quickly, or they might skip beats. Most people get pacemakers because they have bradycardia, an abnormally slow heartbeat, or because they have heart block. The latter is a condition caused by problems with the heart’s electrical system; electrical signals get disrupted or slowed as they move through the heart.
Pacemaker implantation can relieve some of the symptoms of arrhythmia, like fainting or fatigue. Newer and more advanced models can also monitor the patient’s respiration, blood temperature and other vitals, and they can also adjust the patient’s heart rate to match their activity level. For example, if the patient goes jogging, the pacemaker will increase the patient’s heart rate.
What Causes Arrhythmia?
There are many conditions that can cause abnormal heart beats – and they aren’t all forms of heart disease. Epileptic seizures, for instance, can disrupt the electrical signals within the heart and cause abnormal heart beats as a result. In some cases, the disruption will be severe enough to kill the patient.
Other conditions that can cause abnormal heartbeats include diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and some thyroid problems. Stress, smoking, drug abuse and drinking too much caffeine or alcohol can also cause arrhythmia. Some medications, including nutritional supplements and cold and allergy medicines, can cause arrhythmia.
What Does Pacemaker Implantation Involve?
The pacemaker is a machine with a computerized generator, a battery and wires with electrodes on one end. The electrodes detect the electrical activity in the heart and send the information to the generator’s computer. When necessary, the computer will order the generator to send electrical impulses to the heart to regulate it.
Installing a pacemaker is considered minor surgery. The doctor will insert the wires into a vein. The doctor will use X-rays to guide the wires to the correct chamber of the heart. They will implant the pacemaker in between the chest muscle and the skin.
The procedure usually takes about an hour. The doctor will program the pacemaker to meet the patient’s needs. Advanced technology can then be used to check the pacemaker’s functioning after the patient leaves. The patient will still have to see the doctor for periodic check-ups.
Contact Us Today
Schedule an appointment at Cardiology Consultants of Southwest Florida in Fort Myers to see if you are a candidate for implantation. This simple procedure will help our medical team to monitor the health of your heart to ensure that it is functioning at its best. Contact us today to book your consultation.