Commonly Asked Questions about Pacemakers - Pacemaker Implantation at World Best Hospital
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Commonly Asked Questions about Pacemakers - Pacemaker Implantation at World Best Hospital



A pacemaker is an electrical device that is used to regulate and normalise the rhythm at which the heart works. The rate at which the heart works and the rhythm at which it works are triggered by ...

A pacemaker is an electrical device that is used to regulate and normalise the rhythm at which the heart works. The rate at which the heart works and the rhythm at which it works are triggered by electrical impulses generated from within the heart. Abnormalities in these electrical impulses result in arrhythmia, where the heart rhythms are too slow, too fast or irregular.



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Commonly Asked Questions about Pacemakers - Pacemaker Implantation at World Best Hospital Commonly Asked Questions about Pacemakers - Pacemaker Implantation at World Best Hospital Document Transcript

  • World's Most Advanced Medical Treatment in India - Get free Expert Medical Opinion and Treatment Estimate Cost Commonly asked questions about Pacemakers - Pacemaker Implantation at World Best Hospital in India Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmia) occur when the electrical impulses produced by your heart that coordinate heartbeat do not function properly, causing your heart to beat too quickly, too slowly, or irregularly. Age increases the probability of experiencing an arrhythmia. It can occur in people who do not have heart disease. Some heart arrhythmias are harmless, though some types, such as ventricular tachycardia (fast heart rates), are serious and even life threatening. Pacemakers represent one of the earliest and most successful nonpharmacological therapy for arrhythmias. Millions of pacemakers have been implanted since the very first pacemaker was implanted. Drugs are no longer used except in the very acute setting before implantation of a temporary or permanent pacemaker. A cardiac pacemaker is a device that is used to regulate the heart rate. If you have been found to have a heartbeat that is too slow, a pacemaker can be implanted in the body to take over the function. This small electronic device automatically monitors and regulates the heartbeat, by transmitting electrical impulses to stimulate the heart when it is beating too slowly. A pacemaker consists of a pacing lead and a pulse generator. Single chamber pacemakers have only a single lead while dual chamber pacemakers have two leads with one lead in the atrium and the other in the ventricle. Dual chamber pacemakers are more physiological but more expensive. The indications of pacing are now well established. The most important indication of pacing however remains complete heart block and the sick sinus syndrome which account for 95% of the indication for pacemakers implanted in Singapore. During the last pacemaker survey in 2005 in Singapore, the implant rate was 91 per million. With our ageing population, we can expect that the need for pacemaker implantation in Singapore will rapidly increase. Types of pacemakers Single chamber pacemakers are pacing systems that use one lead in either the right atrium or the right ventricle of your heart.
  • A single lead in the right atrium is commonly used in conditions where the normal pacemaker of the heart is not working adequately, such as in the case of sick sinus syndrome. Atrial pacing is used when the sinus node is sending out signals that are too slow or irregular. However, to use this method of pacing, the rest of the heart's normal conduction system must be functioning normally. More commonly, the single lead is placed in the right ventricle to help correct a slow or irregular heart beat. This is most often the case when the electrical flow is slowed or blocked in the region of the atrio-ventricular (A-V) node and the normal impulses from the atria cannot reach the ventricle. This would result in too slow a heart beat. The pacemaker system would keep the heart beating at a steady rate Dual chamber pacemakers are pacemaker systems that use a lead in the right atrium as well as the right ventricle (figure 6). This type of pacing most closely mimics the heart's normal conduction pattern by pacing sequentially from atria to ventricle thus maximizing the heart's pumping ability. By having a lead in both the atria and ventricle the pulse generator is able to continuously regulate the heart's electrical activity in both chambers. These are the most commonly used pacemakers at the present time. Commonly asked questions about pacemakers Will I need to make any lifestyle changes after my pacemaker is implanted? There are no significant lifestyle changes that you will need to make as a result of having a pacemaker implanted. Most patients resume their normal activities soon after implantation. Specific issues or concerns should be addressed with your pacemaker physician or nurse. How often will I need to have my pacemaker checked? Your pacemaker system will need to be evaluated by your pacemaker physician, nurse, or your local cardiologist's office at least twice yearly. A special computer called a programmer is used to perform a comprehensive evaluation of your pacemaker system. The programmer has a wand (like a computer mouse) that is used to communicate with the pacemaker. The wand is placed on your chest directly over the pulse generator and a radio wave signal is used to send and receive information from the pulse generator. Changes in the pacemaker settings can be done via this method as well. A complete assessment of the pacemaker's sensing and pacing functions, battery life, and diagnostic information is obtained, which enables your pacemaker physician/nurse to fine tune your care. How is the battery changed? The battery that is used to power your pulse generator is tightly sealed within the metal shell of the device. Therefore, when the battery's energy is depleted a whole new pulse generator must be implanted. The skin over the pulse generator site is numbed up with
  • local anesthetic. You may also receive a light sedative through a intravenous line to help you relax. A new incision is made in the skin and the pacemaker pocket is opened. The pulse generator is removed and lead(s) disconnected. At this time the lead(s) are hooked to a special analyzer that evaluates the lead(s) for any evidence of potential malfunction. A new pulse generator is then attached to the lead(s) and the system is reimplanted in the same pocket. The incision is sutured (sewn) together and a small dressing applied. Most patients can go home the same day as their procedure. Can I use a microwave? Microwave ovens will not interfere with the proper functioning of your pacemaker. You can use a microwave oven without concern. Can I use a cell phone? It is possible that a cellular phone might interfere with the normal functioning of your pacemaker. The interaction is temporary, however, and will only affect the pacemaker during the time that your cellular phone is close to your pacemaker. To avoid this potential interference, it is recommended that you hold the cellular phone on the opposite side of your body away from the pacemaker. You should also not store your cellular phone in your breast pocket.You should always try to maintain a distance of at least 6 inches between your cellular phone and your pacemaker system. Do I have to take any precautions at the airport? If you were to walk through the metal detector at the airport, it will not harm you nor your pacemaker. However, because the pacemaker is encased in a metal shell, it is possible that the pacemaker may set off the security alarm. To avoid this problem, it is generally recommended that you show your pacemaker identification card to the security agent and inform him/her that you have an implanted pacemaker system. They should let you pass around the metal detector. If the airport security wants to scan you with the "hand wand", they can everywhere except over the device. This information also pertains to any metal detector such as at a courthouse or federal building.
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