How pacemakers and implantable defibrillators are implanted and used


The heart is a four-chambered pump with its
own electrical system. When the electrical system is faulty or in need of repair, a cardiac
device, such as a pacemaker or defibrillator, is implanted. A pacemaker keeps the heart
from beating too slowly. When the heart’s own electrical system misses a signal to stimulate
the heart to beat, a pacemaker sends the signal to replace it. A defibrillator, or ICD, corrects
fast heart rhythms from the ventricles, or lower chambers of the heart. Most defibrillators
have built-in pacemakers. A biventricular system is a pacemaker or defibrillator with
two leads in the lower chambers or ventricles. This system helps the heart beat more efficiently
and is often used to treat a condition called heart failure. Cardiac devices are small,
lightweight, electronic devices that hold a battery and tiny computer. Typically, they
are placed under the skin, just below the collarbone. Insulated wires, or leads, are
threaded through large veins, ending up in the heart. The leads are attached to the cardiac
device. The batteries last an average of five to seven years depending on their use. Some
last more than that, some last less. When a battery change is indicated, the entire
device is replaced, but the leads or wires are often reused. Pacemakers, defibrillators
and heart monitoring devices are implanted in people of all ages. In most cases, individuals
can lead a normal life with minimal restrictions. Strenuous exercise or sexual activity may
be resumed once your physician clears you to do so. Common items that you may come in
contact with such as microwaves, computers and metal detectors will not interfere with
the device’s function. There are a few precautions. Cell phones need to stay 10 inches away from
the implanted device due to potential interference. Close contact with running engines, generators
or welders should be avoided. Most medical procedures will not interfere with your implanted
device, including X-rays, CAT scans, ultrasounds and mammograms. Contact the office managing
your device to see if you have an MRI safe device. What you will need to be aware of
will be discussed in more detail in the patient education booklet you will receive in your
teaching folder.

9 thoughts on “How pacemakers and implantable defibrillators are implanted and used

  1. One thing I would ask is if microwaves are safe why is it I seen one person with a pace maker get a large electrical shock from a microwavw both from 2013 and the energy from it arched to other things befor going away the microwave worked fine after words not shocking any one but if a pace maker is put close to it the does it again. Is the microwave build wrong or is the fact that the microwaves are safe wrong this is not goodeather way because if it is the microwave then the owner must test it.

  2. I would hazard a guess, that the microwave is possibly faulty, they should not interfere normally with an ICD, I would get it checked, for potential microwave leakage.

  3. I have had a pacemaker since i was 1 hour old im now 18 and have my 8th pacemaker they have saved me and i live my life as any one with out one

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