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Pacemaker

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What Is A Pacemaker?
A pacemaker is a small battery-operated device used to regulate your heart's rhythm. When your heart's electrical system does not signal it to contract often enough, or if the signal is not transmitted to the entire heart, you may need a pacemaker to do this work for you.

Your cardiologist will evaluate you and select the type of pacemaker for your needs. Some pacemakers use a single lead to the lower chamber of the heart (ventricle). This is referred to as single-chamber pacing. Other pacemakers use two leads, one in the upper chamber of the heart (atrium) and one in the ventricle. This is called dual-chamber pacing. If necessary, your cardiologist will select a type of pacemaker that changes its own rate with your activity. This is called rate-responsive pacing.

How Is A Pacemaker Implanted?
Implantation of a pacemaker takes about one hour and under most circumstances, is done with local anesthesia. Your cardiologist will make a small incision in the skin, close to your shoulder, under your collar bone (clavicle). He will then pass the lead wire into the right side of your heart. The lead wire will be tested for proper position. A small pocket will be made under the skin in your upper chest for the pacemaker, and the lead will be connected to the pacemaker pulse generator. The incision will be closed, and you will be taken back to your room for rest and recovery. Immediately after surgery, your cardiologist will go to the surgical waiting room to speak with your family. Please be sure they wait there.

What Are The Risks?
Your potential risks in having a pacemaker inserted include, but are not limited to: pain at the incision site, infection, pneumothorax (air in the lung), perforation of heart muscle, lead dislodgment or failure, bleeding and/or swelling in the pacemaker pocket, and erosion of the pacemaker generator through skin over time.

What Is The Recovery Time?
Allow about four weeks for your pacemaker to settle firmly in place. During this time, avoid lifting anything over five pounds, raising your arms above your shoulder, or doing any vigorous pushing or pulling with your arm on the side where your pacemaker is located.

Cardiovascular diagnostic and interventional procedures may cause unexpected problems, but serious and life-threatening problems are unusual. Your Florida Heart Group physician will discuss the potential risks and benefits in detail so you can both decide which treatment is best for you.

To learn more or to contact our practice, please call 407.894.4474 to request an appointment.