What is a Permanent Pacemaker?
A Pacemaker is a small electronic device which is implanted under the skin. It communicates with the heart via pacing leads. It is used in situations where the heart beat is too slow or does not increase with exercise .
Most pacemakers are inserted under local anaesthetic with conscious sedation.. An inscision of approximately 5 centimeters is made under the collar bone and a small pouch is burrowed under the skin. The leads are inserted through the arm veins into the heart. One to three leads are inserted depending on the underlying heart disease. The newer pacemakers can be home monitored and most are now compatible with MRI scanning.
After pacemaker insertion patients are encouraged to lead a normal life. After a short period of time driving , sport and usual physical activity can be resumed.
Pacemaker batteries last 10 to 12 years, but battery life can vary according to amount of time pacing is required.
Regular pacing checks are required to monitor leads, arrhythmias and battery life. The pacemaker checks are performed in a clinic using computers to communicate with the pacemaker. The devices can be programmed in a number of ways and are often individualized to your specific needs and lifestyle.
You will be given a pacemaker identification card which is the size of a credit card and should be kept with you at all times.
Any further queries should be discussed with your cardiologist.