Pacemaker Implant

A pacemaker implant is used in the treatment of bradycardia, a heart condition accompanied with slow heart rate. Pacemaker implant involves positioning of lead in heart and the device in skin pocket, conventionally in the shoulder.

The process involves local anesthesia and sedatives instead of general anesthesia. Statistics have proven that many people quickly recover after the process is conducted. In essence, the gadget is used to treat abnormal heart rhythms, or the condition known as bradycardia.

The process of pacemaker implantation

Preparation for a permanent pacemaker implant

Logically, a doctor will provide instructions to be followed prior to implementation of the procedure. Such instructions may include taking, continuing or stoppage of some medications, avoiding certain foodstuffs, running through hospital check-in procedures, and general explanation of the process and location of the implant. In typical situations, the pacemaker can be implemented below the collar bone, either to the right or left.

However, in some instances, the device is implanted in the upper abdomen. The decision on implant location is based on discussion with the doctor often centering the patient’s age and general health, prior chest surgery, and other activities of daily life.

Lead implantation

In implanting lead, the patient lies on exam table and an intravenous line is placed into his/her arm. The IV line is used to deliver fluid and other medication during the implant procedure.

This medication is used to make the patient feel relaxed and conscious. The patient is attached to several monitors during the process. All skin areas are numbed and a small insertion is made through which the lead is inserted. In many instances, it is inserted near collar borne.

The doctor gently steers lead through blood vessels. Through the computer screen, the doctor can monitor the lead as it is inserted. This is achieved through the moving x-ray technology.
Based on individual cases, a single lead or two may be implanted into the heart. When a single lead is used, the pacemaker is known as a single-chamber pacemaker while in cases where two are used, it is known as dual-chamber pacemaker.

Testing the device and lead

The doctor connects the device and lead and tests the system. This is meant to ensure that both components are functional. It is normal to feel the heart beating faster during the first test.

Implanting the device

The device is implanted below the skin and the incision stitches closed.

After the procedure

The experience after implant may vary from one person to another. While some people may remain in the hospital overnight some may be strong enough to leave the same day.

The incision site experiences some level of tenderness. In many instances however, people recover fairly faster.

Additionally, the doctor may recommend several appointments to ensure the incision point heals as required. Most people, who have undergone the process, lead a quality life.

Risks involved

In general, implantation procedure is entirely safe. Nonetheless, like is the case with many invasive procedures, there are associated risks. Common risks include pain, bleeding and bruising of the site of implant.

Although unlikely, there are cases where there is accidentally puncturing of the lungs during wire insertion, and air leaks into chest cavity causing lung collapse. This is however a reversible condition and can be treated through chest tube insertion to allow air to escape and lung to re-expand.