Pacemaker Implantation


DESCRIPTION
A pacemaker is a small device that is placed in the chest or abdomen of the patient to control abnormal heart rhythms. It uses electrical pulses to prompt the heart to beat at a normal rate. A pacemaker is helpful in the treatment of Arrhythmias. Arrhythmias are problems affecting the rate and rhythm of the heartbeat. In such a condition, the heart can beat too fast, too slow or with an irregular rhythm. During an Arrhythmia, the heart may not be able to pump enough blood to the body. This may cause symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, fainting etc. in case of severe arrhythmia; vital organs of the body may suffer damage and may even cause loss of consciousness or death. A pacemaker can relieve some arrhythmia symptoms, such as fatigue and fainting. It can also help a person who has abnormal heart rhythms resume a more active lifestyle. The most common reasons for a pacemaker implantation can be Bradycardia and heart block. Bradycardia is a condition where the heartbeat is slower than the normal rate. Heart block is a problem with the heart’s electrical system. The disorder occurs when an electrical signal is slowed or disrupted as it moves through the heart. Heart block can also happen as a result of aging, damage to the heart from a heart attack or other conditions that interfere with the heart’s electrical activity.


THE PROCESS

Pacemaker implantation requires only a minor surgery.  The surgeon will place a needle in a large vein usually near the shoulder of the patient’s dominant hand. He will then use the needle to thread the pacemaker wires into the vein and to the correct place in the heart.  With the help of x-ray movie of the wires as they pass through the patient’s vein and into his heart, the surgeon will be able to position them accurately. Once the wires are in place, the surgeon will make a small cut into the skin of the patient’s chest or abdomen. He will then place the pacemaker’s metal box through the cut and position it under the skin, and connect it to the wires that lead to the heart. The box contains the pacemaker’s battery and generator. Once the pacemaker is inserted, it will be tested to make sure that it works properly. The cut is then sealed thus finishing the whole procedure.


DURATION OF THE PROCEDURE
The procedure may last up to 2 hrs.


HOSPITALIZATION PERIOD
The patient may be hospitalized for 24hrs after the surgery for monitoring process.


TIME SPAN FOR RECOVERY

Patients from across the border can return to their home country within 2 to 3 days after the surgery.


AFTER CARE GUIDELINES

Patients who have undergone pacemaker implantation surgery have to follow some guidelines prescribed by their doctors for their effective recovery,
  • Avoid vigorous activities and heavy lifting for about a month after the pacemaker surgery.
  • Once the patient has a pacemaker implanted on him, the patient should avoid close or prolonged contact with electrical devices or devices that have strong magnetic fields. They may disrupt the electrical signaling of the pacemaker and stop it from working properly.
  • Refrain from full-contact sports, such as football.
  • Follow regular checkups with the doctor to check whether the pacemaker is working properly or not (every 3 months).
  • Replacement of pacemaker batteries/generator should be done accurately.


THE RISKS

Even though the possibilities of having complications with the pacemaker is low, there are chances of the following risks,
  • Swelling, bleeding, bruises or infection in the area where the pacemaker we placed.
  • Blood vessel or nerve damage.
  • Lung collapse
  • Allergic reaction to the medicine used during the procedure.


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