• Pacemaker

    A pacemaker is a small device that is powered by a battery. It helps the heart beat in a regular rhythm. Pacemakers are needed for those who have a slow and irregular heart rhythm.

    A pacemaker can pace the heart's upper chambers (the atria), the lower chambers (the ventricles), or both chambers at times. Pacemakers may also be used to prevent the heart from going into fast, irregular rhythms.

    A pacemaker is about the size of a small matchbox. The pacemaker "can" or container has two parts inside:

    • A pulse generator, which includes the battery and several electronic circuits.
    • Wires, called leads, which are attached to the heart wall. Depending on the type of pacemaker you need, there may be one or two leads.

    The pacemaker is implanted under the skin and fatty tissue near the collarbone. If only one lead is needed, it is placed in the lower-right chamber (the right ventricle). If two leads are needed, the other lead is placed in the upper-right chamber (the right atrium). The leads are then attached to the pacemaker (pulse generator).

    Once the pacemaker is implanted, the leads carry signals back from the heart. The pulse generator "reads" these signals. When the heart rate is too slow, it sends an impulse to the heart to help beat in a regular rhythm.