What is it?

Pacemaker implantation is a surgical procedure that involves placing a small device called a pacemaker under the skin of the chest. A pacemaker is a small device that uses electrical impulses to regulate the heartbeat.

Pacemakers are typically used to treat heart conditions such as bradycardia (a slow heart rate), heart block, and other conditions that cause the heart to beat too slowly or irregularly.

During the procedure, a cardiologist will insert one or more leads (thin wires) into a vein near the collarbone and guide them to the heart. The leads are then connected to the pacemaker, which is placed under the skin near the collarbone.

Who needs a pacemaker?

Pacemaker implantation is for anyone who has a heart condition that causes a slow or irregular heartbeat. Some common reasons why a doctor may recommend a pacemaker implantation include:

  • Bradycardia (a slow heart rate)
  • Heart block
  • Sick sinus syndrome
  • Atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat)
  • Heart failure

Pacemakers are most commonly needed in the elderly, however, they can be used in people of all ages.

What to expect on the day?

On the day of the pacemaker implantation, patients will typically arrive at the hospital several hours before the scheduled procedure time. They will be admitted to a preoperative area where they will be prepared for the procedure by a team of healthcare professionals.

During this time, patients may undergo additional tests, such as blood tests, electrocardiogram (ECG), or chest X-rays, to ensure that they are in good health and that the procedure can proceed safely.

Patients will be asked to change into a hospital gown and will have an intravenous (IV) line inserted into a vein in their arm to administer medications and fluids during the procedure.

The procedure itself typically takes several hours to complete. Patients will be given a local anaesthetic to numb the area where the pacemaker will be placed, as well as a mild sedative to help them relax.

After the procedure, patients will be taken to a recovery area where they will be closely monitored for any complications. They will typically stay in the hospital for a day or two to recover before being discharged home.

Patients will need to take certain precautions after the procedure, such as avoiding lifting heavy objects and not raising their arms above their head for several weeks. They will also need to attend follow-up appointments with their cardiologist to ensure that the pacemaker is working properly.

Overall, pacemaker implantation is a safe and effective procedure that can help regulate the heartbeat and improve the quality of life for people with certain heart conditions. If your doctor has recommended a pacemaker implantation, it is important to follow their instructions and attend the appointment to ensure the best possible care for your heart health.