Pacemaker Implantation

The Heart Center at Christian Hospital specializes in heart procedures including pacemaker implementation.

To schedule an appointment or for more information please call 314.747.9355 or toll-free 877.747.9355 or email us.

What is a Pacemaker?

A pacemaker is a device that sends electrical signals to the heart muscle to maintain a steady heartbeat. The pacemaker is composed of two parts: the leads and the pulse generator. The leads are wires that are threaded through the veins into the heart. They send impulses from the pulse generator to the heart muscle. The pulse generator houses the battery.

Pacemaker implementation is usually recommended for people with abnormal arrhythmias, heart muscle damage, suffered a heart attack or heart disease.

Types of Pacemakers

  • Single chamber: one lead in the upper of lower chambers of the heart
  • Dual chamber: (2 leads) one lead in the atria and one in the ventricles of the heart
  • Biventricular pacemaker: (3 leads) one lead in the right atrium, one in the right ventricle and one in the left ventricle

What is Pacemaker Implantation Surgery?

Pacemaker implantation surgery is a surgical procedure where a pacemaker is placed under the skin in the chest to control the heart rate and rhythm. Pacemaker surgery is recommended for people with bradyarrhythmias (slow heartbeats) and/or heart failure.

Why is a Pacemaker Implanted?

A pacemaker is implanted to correct or control an abnormal heartbeat. Pacemakers can be temporary to treat a slow heartbeat after a heart attack or permanently to correct bradycardia or heart failure.

How a Pacemaker Works?

A pacemaker mimics the action of the heart and consists of two parts, the pulse generator and leads (electrodes). The pulse generator houses the battery and regulates the rate of electrical pulses sent to the heart. Leads are 1-3 flexible wires that are placed in the heart chambers and deliver electrical pulses to adjust the heart rate.

How are Pacemakers Implanted?

Pacemakers can be implanted by the endocardial approach or the epicardial approach. The endocardial procedure places a pacemaker in the chest. In the epicardial procedure, a pacemaker is placed in a pocket under the skin in the abdomen.

What to Expect with a Pacemaker Implantation

Before having pacemaker surgery, a doctor will inform you on the pre-surgery instructions. This may include how long to fast and what medications can or can’t be taken before the surgery.

On the day of surgery, you will be given anesthesia and an IV will be started.

During the procedure, the heart surgeon will make an incision either in the chest or abdomen and insert the pacemaker and leads.

The leads are inserted in the veins to the heart muscle. Once the leads are placed, the doctor will test their functioning through “pacing.” Pacing is when small amounts of energy are delivered to through the leads into the heart muscle causing the heart muscle to contract or beat. After the leads are tested, the doctor will attach them to the pacemaker and insert the pacemaker into the body through the incision site.

After the surgery is over you will be sent to a recovery room where you will stay overnight so nurses can monitor your heart rate and rhythm. The next day your pacemaker will be tested to ensure it’s working properly. The doctor will tell you how to care for the wound and will inform you on when you can go home.

Electrical Devices to Avoid

The following are electrical devices that should be avoided after pacemaker implantation:

  • MRI procedures
  • Magnetic devices
  • Arc welding 
  • High-voltage machinery

Risk of Pacemaker Surgery

The following are risk associated with pacemaker implementation:

  • Infection
  • Allergic reaction
  • Swelling, bruising, bleeding at generator site
  • Collapsed lung
  • Heart muscle puncture

To schedule an appointment or for more information please call 314.747.9355 or toll-free 877.747.9355 or email us.