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Pacemakers

A pacemaker is a small electronic device that helps your heart’s electrical system. It keeps your heart beating at the right pace. Inserting the pacemaker into your body is called implantation. You stay awake during the procedure. You may be asked some questions or be asked to take some deep breaths.

Outline of human head and chest showing cross section of heart with pacemaker in place. Generator is under collarbone with two leads entering vein and going into heart. Right atrial lead ends in right atrium and right ventricular lead ends in bottom of right ventricle.

During the Procedure

  • A local anesthetic is given by injection to numb the area where the pacemaker will be inserted. This keeps you from feeling pain during the procedure.

  • An incision is made where the generator is placed.

  • The lead (transmits to and from your heart) is guided through a vein into your heart’s chambers using X-ray monitors.

  • The pacemaker generator is attached to the lead or leads.

  • The pacemaker’s settings are programmed to help your heart beat at a rate that’s right for you.

 

After the Procedure

  • You will stay in the hospital a day or 2.

  • Your pacemaker settings will be rechecked.

  • Follow the instructions you are given for caring for the implantation site. You will likely be told not to raise the arm on that side for a certain amount of time.

  • Take your temperature and check your incision for signs of infection every day for a week.

  • Return for a follow-up visit as directed by our staff.

When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • You feel any of the symptoms you had before the pacemaker was implanted (dizziness, lightheadedness, lack of energy or fainting spells).

  • Your chest muscles twitch.

  • You have a rapid or pounding heartbeat or shortness of breath.

  • You feel pain in the area around your pacemaker.

  • You have a fever over 101°F (38.3°C) or other signs of infection (redness, swelling or warmth at the incision site).

Online Medical Reviewer: Larson, Kim APRN, FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Date Last Reviewed: 2/20/2014
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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