A pacemaker is a small, battery-powered device that helps your heart maintain a normal rhythm by emitting a low-level electrical signal when arrhythmia is detected. Pacemakers are usually implanted beneath the skin of the chest under the collarbone. Some types of temporary pacemakers may be worn externally on a belt.
What does it involve?
You will likely be sedated by intravenous medication but awake during pacemaker implantation. You also receive local numbing medication. First, the pacemaker itself will be implanted under your skin, most likely in the chest near the collarbone.
Next, the cardiologist will connect the wires of the pacemaker to your heart. The cardiologist will make a small hole in in a blood vessel with a needle, then insert a thin, flexible guide through your blood vessels to your heart. The wires will be inserted through the blood vessel and connected.
Once the pacemaker is placed, it will monitor your heart rhythm and produce an electrical signal to correct arrhythmia as needed.
After pacemaker placement, you will likely need to spend one day in the hospital. You can expect to resume normal activities within four weeks.
Pacemakers are considered standard treatment for people with many types of arrhythmia. Pacemakers can treat symptoms of arrhythmia and enable you to have a more active lifestyle.
Rare but serious complications of pacemaker implantation include bleeding, infection at the entry site, damage to the blood vessels or heart valves, puncture of the heart, blood clots, collapsed lung, kidney damage, stroke, heart attack, or death.
Pacemaker batteries last five to 15 years. The pacemaker battery or wires may need to be replaced.
After you receive a pacemaker, you will need to use precautions around magnets and certain electronic devices. Keep your cell phone, portable music player, headphones, and magnets at least six inches away from your pacemaker. Stay at least two feet away from generators and high-voltage transformers. Inform medical and security personnel that you have a pacemaker.
For more details about this treatment, visit:
Pacemaker – Mayo Clinic
What is a pacemaker? (PDF) – American Heart Association
Heart pacemaker – MedlinePlus