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Has Your Doctor Advised You to Get a Pacemaker?

201775 Viewed Jacob Martin Comments Off on Has Your Doctor Advised You to Get a Pacemaker?

If you have been getting your heart treated from any of the cardiac hospitals and recently your doctor has advised you to get a pacemaker, your mind right now might be in a pool of questions – how does it work? How is fitted? What will be your life after the implant?

Here are things that you need to know about a pacemaker

What is a Pacemaker?

Using electrical pulses to prompt the heart, Pacemaker is a device that is placed in the upper part of chest. This small device is used to treat arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) that can cause the heart to miss beats or beat too fast or slowly.

Tachycardia – fast heartbeat

Bradycardia – slow heartbeat

What Does a Pacemaker Do?

A pacemaker consists of a digital generator, a battery and wires with sensors (electrodes) at their tips. A thin metal box surrounds the battery and the generator, and the wires help in connecting the generator to the heart.

The sinus node in the heart plays the role of the natural pacemaker by sending an electrical impulse to make the heart beat. When the performance of the sinus node deteriorates, doctors advise a pacemaker. The job of this device is to artificially take over the function of the sinus node. The impulses sent by this device stimulate the heart to produce heartbeat and contraction. This is how it works –

  • The pacemaker is linked to the heart by one or more wires. Tiny electric charges that cannot be felt, move through the wire to the heart
  • Pacemakers work only when needed. They function when the heartbeat is too slow, fast or irregular

How is the Device Fitted?

A pacemaker is rooted under the skin, just beneath the collarbone. Implanting the pacemaker requires a normal surgery that is performed in a heart hospital. Before the surgery, the doctor inserts an IV into one of the veins that help the patient to relax or induce sleep. Further, the area where the pacemaker will be put is numbed. To prevent infection, the patient is also given antibiotics.

The doctor will insert a needle into a large vein. The needle is then used to thread the pacemaker wires into the vein to correctly place the device. A live X-Ray helps the doctor see the wires travel through the vein and then the heart. After the wires are placed perfectly, a small cut either in the skin of abdomen or chest is made to place the pacemaker.

Once the pacemaker is fitted, it helps the heart return to its normal function and pump as it did before. People after a successful pacemaker implant and cardiac treatment lead an active life. The battery of the pacemaker roughly lasts ten years or even longer. When the battery runs out, the doctor will perform another small surgery to replace it.

Back in the time, someone with a pacemaker was prohibited from getting an MRI, because the pacemaker could interact with the magnetic waves. This interaction could cause damage to the device and deteriorate patient’s health. However, today, MRI compatible pacemakers are available at leading heart hospitals in India including Max Healthcare.

Living with the Pacemaker

The new age pacemakers are built with perfection to last. However, like any other device, they also need some care. From getting the pacemaker checked periodically to taking medications strictly as instructed, you will have to do it all. Things that the doctor may advise:

  • Avoid pressure over the area where the pacemaker is implanted
  • Avoid heavy lifting and vigorous exercise for a few months
  • Always carry the pacemaker ID card
  • Get the pulse record checked periodically

On the day of discharge, ask your doctor about the possible side effects. Furthermore, follow all the instructions strictly and keep your appointment dates handy. The doctor will call you for a regular check-up every three to six months, be sure to follow-up.

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