Your heart is the chief primary pump of your body, its main function being to pump and circulate oxygenated blood all through your body and deoxygenated blood back to the lungs for removal. The heart is a pump, with heart valves that allow blood to flow in a single direction throughout the heart. A pacemaker is a miniature device that helps your heart beat in a regular manner as it should. It does so by supplying electric stimulation which in turn controls your heartbeat. The heart beat determines normal blood supply and oxygenation to the rest of the body. So, a pacemaker is essentially an electronic, battery-driven appliance that is to be implanted right under the skin, below the collarbone, surgically. It is then attached to the heart with the help of wires. This device can pace, sense, and defibrillate all together.
When is a pacemaker indicated ?
- When your heart beats either too slow or too fast
- When your heart doesn’t beat on a regular basis
- When there’s a block in your heart’s electric pathways
How does a pacemaker work ?
When your heart rate drops below normal, the pacemaker device generates or fires diminutive electrical impulses that are conducted through the leads, and travel to the cardiac muscle. These electrical impulses make the chambers of the heart muscle contract, bringing about synchronous cardiac action. The end result is improved cardiac function.
The surgical procedure is performed under the influence of general anesthesia mostly and requires a dedicated change in lifestyle and rehabilitative exercises to help recover full heart function. Your cardiologist will choose the best procedure to treat you.
What is to be expected post-surgery ?
As a patient, usually you have to remain in the hospital overnight and are to be discharged the following day.
A chest X-ray will be performed to verify the position of the pacemaker and leads. A final pacemaker check is also completed.
Discharge instructions include wound care, activity guidelines, any changes to their medications, and follow-up care. Keep the insertion site clean and dry, inspect it daily, and report any signs of infection to your physician. Keep a track of your physical activity. Exercise should be avoided for at least 6 weeks post the procedure.
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