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Pacemaker Implant Procedure Services at Drexel Cardiology

Outline of a Heart

A pacemaker is a medical device that is implanted under the skin of the chest during a routine, outpatient surgical procedure. It is used to restore a normal heart rhythm and relieve fatigue and shortness of breath that typically occur when the heart is not beating effectively. Most often, pacemakers are recommended to treat a slower-than-normal heart rhythm called bradycardia. They may also be used to treat congestive heart failure and fainting spells.

Pacemakers work by delivering an electrical impulse to the heart, which causes it to contract and keeps it beating steadily. These devices consist of lead wires and a pulse generator, which contains the battery. Lead wires are threaded through the veins and attached to the heart muscle. The physician programs the pacemaker so that when the patient's heart rate drops below a preset rate, the pacemaker fires, causing a heartbeat.

Types of Pacemakers

  • Single- or dual-chamber pacers:
    use one or two leads.
  • Cardiac resynchronization device (bi-ventricular pacer) for heart failure:
    consists of three leads that help the heart's various chambers to contract in a coordinated way. When the chambers do not synchronize properly, the heart does not beat efficiently and the body does not get the amount of blood it needs. Studies show that these pacemakers can significantly improve quality of life for selected patients with congestive heart failure, and may actually help to reverse some of the cardiac damage that heart failure causes.
  • Optivol fluid status monitoring:
    a feature of certain cardiac resynchronization devices. It monitors the level of fluid in the chest cavity, an important health indicator for patients with congestive heart failure. Assessed along with other important signs and symptoms, fluid status monitoring can guide treatment and help patients avoid hospitalization. Fluid status information is easily transmitted by the patient to a secure Internet website where the physician can check on the device as well as the patient's heart function. Then, if necessary, the patient can come to the office for adjustments to the treatment plan.

Pacemaker Procedure Preparation

Patients may be advised to discontinue certain medications from one to five days before the pacemaker procedure. Persons with diabetes should consult their doctor regarding how to adjust their medications. Patients should not eat or drink anything after midnight on the evening before the procedure.

Related Service

Cardiac Electrophysiology

Pacemaker Specialists

John M. Fontaine, MD
Specialties: Cardiology, Electrophysiology, Ablation, Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator

S. Luke Kusmirek, MD
Specialties: Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Special expertise in complex ablation procedures including atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia ablation

Steven P. Kutalek, MD
Specialties: Cardiology, Lead Extraction, Pacemakers, Defibrillators, Medication Management

The information on these pages is provided for general information only and should not be used for diagnosis or treatment, or as a substitute for consultation with a physician or health care professional. If you have specific questions or concerns about your health, you should consult your health care professional.

The images being used are for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted is a model.

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