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Pacemaker Implantation

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Why Choose Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Pacemaker Implantation?

Cardiologists with high expertise levels in pacemakers will handle implantation and will make sure that the procedure will be done using the most advanced techniques. The procedure will be followed by the best recommendations for daily behavior of the patient having a permanent pacemaker, short and long term.

A healthy heart has a steady, consistent, even rhythm, thanks to the electrical impulses that make the heart beat. Sometimes, these impulses become irregular. This condition is called arrhythmia, and if it is serious enough, a small electrical device may be placed in your body to help your heart keep a steady pace; the device is called a pacemaker.

The procedure of pacemaker implantation is a common procedure, it could be lifesaving and will definitely improve quality of life.

Like any intervention, pacemaker implantation has possible risks:

  • Blood clots
  • Infection
  • Issues in pacemaker functioning
  • Air leak caused by lung trauma during the intervention resulting in pneumothorax

In having a permanently implanted pacemaker, functioning issues are the main concern. These may be caused by device malfunction or by movement of the wire. Malfunction could be fixed using wireless signals. In some cases, surgical intervention might be necessary in these situations.

Some long term advice:

  • Ordinary household electrical devices are safe to use.
  • Use a headset instead of putting your ear up to a mobile phone. 
  • Security devices like metal detectors – always inform the staff about having a pacemaker.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – should not be performed. Although MRI-safe pacemakers are used nowadays inform your doctor right away if you have a pacemaker. 
  • Discuss with your doctor about contact with strong electrical fields.

Follow your doctor’s advice regarding any medical procedure or life situation.

The implantation is preceded by a preoperative assessment of the patient’s overall health.

  • When a surgeon implants a pacemaker, the patient is first put under general anesthesia. That means the patient is unconscious and feels no pain during the operation.
  • Minor surgery takes place to connect the device. Very commonly it is placed intravenously through a minor 5-6 cm incision in the left side of the chest, under or near the collarbone.
  • The patient stays in the hospital for a couple of days to make sure he or she is stable and the pacemaker is working properly.

In the first four weeks after surgery the patient should protect and care for the operation site:

  • Avoid reaching up on the side of the intervention, heavy-lifting or strong physical exercise
  • Also, avoid moving the arm (a physical therapist might help)

Usually having a pacemaker is a common and very safe procedure with a low risk of complications.

Pacemakers are permanently placed in the body, and they help many people to become more active.

You may need a pacemaker implantation in case of heart arrhythmia.

There are several different kinds of arrhythmias. These include:

  • too-slow heartbeat (also called bradycardia)
  • too-fast heartbeat (also called tachycardia), including:
    • atrial, or supraventricular, tachycardia (affecting the heart’s top two chambers, the atria)
    • ventricular tachycardia (affecting the bottom two chambers, the ventricles)
    • sinus tachycardia (the whole heart is beating faster than normal)
    • atrial fibrillation (the atria contract irregularly, rather than squeezing and relaxing with a normal rhythm)

Also the procedure might be necessary in case of heart block or cardiac arrest.

Sports can be played, however, avoid contact sports or very energetic activity. Patients will most likely return to normal and improved quality of life in about four weeks. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Pacemaker Implantation

Some symptoms are absolutely normal after this type of intervention. Others might announce the onset of complications.

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