Pacemaker and Defibrillator Implants

Pacemaker and Defibrillator Implants

What are Pacemakers and Defibrillators?

Irregular heartbeats can turn into a life-threatening situation if left unnoticed. Pacemakers and Defibrillators are devices that help to monitor and control the patient’s heart rhythms through electrical shocks. It is an efficient device that also helps to regulate unstable abnormal heartbeats

Pacemakers work by sending electrical impulses to prevent the heart from beating too slowly. They can be implanted using a surgical process and only function when needed, such as during bradycardia (a slow heartbeat).

A pacemaker has a pulse generator that controls the rate of electrical impulses and electrodes that connect to the heart chambers to pass the electric signals.

A defibrillator, also known as implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), is an electronic device connected to the heart to detect rapid or abnormal heartbeat and send electrical shocks to bring the pace back to normal.

An ICD responds to tachycardia (abnormally rapid heart rate) and resets the heart rhythm back to normal, preventing a potential cardiac arrest. It can also work as a pacemaker that corrects slower heartbeat back to normal.

What is the use of a Pacemaker and Defibrillator?

An internal pacemaker is implanted below the collar bone. Physicians prescribe it to:

  • Control bradycardia (slow heartbeat)

  • Overcome the risk of possible heart failure after a heart attack

  • Correct the heart rhythm after surgery or medication

An implantable defibrillator or ICD is implanted in patients at risk of life-threatening rapid heart rhythm. It is necessary to:

  • Monitor patients who have survived cardiac arrests

  • Correct ventricular tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)

  • Prevent possible heart failure

  • Monitor people with a family medical history

What are the risks associated with Pacemaker and Defibrillator?

The risks and complications associated with implanting a pacemaker or defibrillator are rare, but they can happen. Patients must inform their physician if they are pregnant, breastfeeding, allergic to medicines, or have any medical condition that could reduce the risk of complications.

Some of the risks related to pacemaker surgery are:

  • Blood clots or damage near the pacemaker

  • Collapsed lung

  • Infection, swelling, or bleeding near the pacemaker

  • Abnormal heart rhythms

Possible risks that that can happen with defibrillator surgery are:

  • Injury to heart or collapsed lung

  • Wound infection

  • Bleeding or damage to the blood vessel at the catheter insertion site

  • Unexpected dangerous heart arrhythmia

What are the preparations for a Pacemaker and Defibrillator?

Before undergoing pacemaker or defibrillator surgery, patients must inform their physicians if they are allergic to any medicines or latex and if they are pregnant. They should also let their physicians know about any prescription medications they are taking. Fasting for a brief period will also be recommended. The physicians will provide other instructions prior to the procedure.

You must take several tests to diagnose your irregular heartbeat. These include an electrocardiogram (ECG), echocardiogram, holter monitoring, stress test, etc.

After the procedure, you must abstain from vigorous exercise and heavy lifting for about six months. You will also need to take precautions while near cellphones, power generating equipment, and more.

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