In the case of pacemaker implantation, a person must undergo a brief procedure. During this procedure, the pacemaker is implanted in the chest. The patient should stay awake during the procedure, and the nurse will monitor his or her vital signs, heart rhythm, and sensation in the area where the device is inserted. The procedure will also involve a chest X-ray, which is used to make sure that the leads and device are in the correct position. After the surgery, the patient should bathe and take care of the wound. He or she may have to use special soap to reduce the risk of developing a serious infection.
The procedure starts by making an incision in the chest. The patient should wear comfortable clothes and normal eye and hearing devices. The doctor will then start an intravenous line in the patient’s arm, through which he or she will administer fluids and medications. The doctor will give the patient a sedative before the procedure, which will numb the skin. The patient may feel a burning or pinching sensation as the surgeon inserts the pacemaker. A second, local anesthetic will be injected into the patient’s chest to block the feeling of pain.
The process to implant a pacemaker takes between an hour and two hours. The procedure may take longer if the patient has multiple leads. A biventricular pacemaker has three leads. Wireless pacemakers are implanted using a thin tube called a catheter. A catheter is guided through a vein in the thigh to the heart. The procedure may take less than an hour and the patient may be discharged the same day or stay overnight.
Modern pacemakers are programmable and adjust their discharge rate depending on the patient’s body’s needs. They send steady signals when the heart is not beating properly. In addition, they do not send signals when the heart is beating normally. Most pacemakers have a special sensor that recognizes body movements and breathing rate and can increase the rate of discharge when the patient becomes active. Because the heart is a pump made of muscle, electrical impulses help it work properly.
In addition to the implant itself, the pacemaker leads may be connected to various components in the heart. These components can get jostled out of place or come loose due to medications or materials. It is important to follow instructions given to you by your healthcare provider so that the pacemaker will work correctly and maintain your heart rhythm. You should also visit your healthcare provider on a regular basis to check the health of your heart after the procedure.
If the device has a battery, it is important to check it at regular intervals. The average battery life of a pacemaker is between five and eight years. After implanting a pacemaker, you should have it checked at least every 3 months. However, some patients are advised to have their pacemakers checked every month over the telephone. Your healthcare provider will explain how to perform a battery check during the phone call. If the battery is low, you can have it changed as necessary.