Cardiology

Pacemaker / Defibrillator

Pace Makers VideoInformation about this test

This Pacemaker / Defibrillator is necessary in patients whose heart rate is too slow. This  involves minor surgical procedure to implant a pacemaker under the skin.

  A two inch incision is made below the collar bone to insert the device under the skin. This also allows exposure of the vein that runs under the collar bone. A needle poke in this vein allows a wire to be introduced through the vein and into the heart. The wire then attaches to the pacemaker device and carries the electrical signal from the pacemaker to the heart.

 Once implanted, aside from pacing the heart, the pacemaker can also monitor for evidence of arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats.)

How Long Does This Procedure Take

  • Implanting a pacemaker takes about one hour. It does involve giving you medication to make you sleepy, however it is not usually done with the patient under anesthesia. Rather the medication is the same as that used during a colonoscopy. Patients are breathing on their own and are not on a breathing machine.

What Preparation is Required Prior To This Procedure

  • We generally ask that you do not eat or drink after midnight on the day of the procedure until the device is implanted.
  •  You usually can take all of your medications as normally prescribed, although we may suggest holding insulin if you will be fasting for a period of time.
  •  You will need someone to drive you to the procedure and, if you are sent home the same day, they will then need to drive you back home afterwards. You may stay overnight in the hospital after the device is implanted.

Who Performs/Interprets This Procedure

  • The device is placed by a Cardiologist with advanced training/certification in pacemaker implantation (an Electrophysiologist).
  • After the device is implanted, it will be monitored and followed by your regular Cardiologist.

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