What is Pacemaker Surgery?
A pacemaker is a small electronic device that is used to regulate electrical problems with your heart. During pacemaker implantation or surgery, the device containing a battery pack is placed in the chest, below the collarbone. Wires, or leads, will extend from the device to your heart. When the leads detect an irregular or slow heartbeat, it will send electrical impulses to mimic your heart’s natural electrical activity.
Recovery from pacemaker surgery may involve one night in the hospital, but some patients go home the same day. Most patients can return to daily activities within a week and resume all activities within four to six weeks.
Pacemakers can have one to three leads that are placed into different chambers of the heart, or are leadless, depending on your heart condition. Types of pacemakers include:
- Single-chamber pacemaker – one lead that carries impulses to a single heart chamber
- Dual-chamber pacemaker – two leads that carry impulses to one upper chamber and one lower chamber of the heart
- Biventricular pacemaker – three leads that carry impulses to one upper chamber, and both lower chambers of the heart. This is also called a cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) device
- Leadless pacemaker – this pacemaker is the size of a capsule, and is placed in the femoral vein (in the thigh) via an IV, where it is then transported to the right ventricle of the heart. Some patients who are candidates for a single-chamber pacemaker may be candidates for this type of leadless pacemaker. Patients typically have bedrest for four to six hours after this procedure, and spend one night in the hospital
Another device that sends electricity to the heart is an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, or an ICD. Regular ICDs are not considered a type of pacemaker; they are larger devices that are used to prevent death from cardiac arrest. It can deliver a shock to correct a life-threatening heart rhythm. Newer ICDs also have a dual function to allow them to serve as a pacemaker.
Once your pacemaker is in place, you will need to return to your doctor for routine follow-up and monitoring. The pacemaker will also be checked periodically from home. Remote (home) pacemaker or defibrillator monitors can be plugged into an outlet near your nightstand, next to your bed or your cellphone.
Typically, the battery of a pacemaker lasts eight years, and the leads will not need to be replaced. When the battery voltage is low, a new pacemaker will be implanted.
Learn More About Pacemakers
Bassett Healthcare Network offers pacemaker implantation in Central New York, including in Oneonta, Cobleskill, Cooperstown, Herkimer, Little Falls, and Delhi.