Pacemaker Implantation

You may have a slow or irregular heart rate, or your heart rate may be normal at times and too fast or too slow at other times. A pacemaker can help your heart beat more regularly.

An artificial pacemaker system is made up of two parts, a generator and leads. The generator is a small battery-powered unit that produces electrical impulses that are transmitted down the leads which are tiny wires that carry the impulses to the heart.

Patients are usually given a mild sedative prior to the procedure. This will help you feel more relaxed and maybe a bit sleepy. You will be taken to a sterile room with special cameras for the procedure. After the skin has been cleansed, a small incision will be made in your chest just below your collarbone. A pocket is made under the skin for the generator to sit in. The lead is then threaded into the vein under the collarbone and placed, with the help of x-ray monitors, into your heart. Next, the generator is programmed to treat your specific rhythm problem, and the leads are attached to the generator. The generator is then placed into the pocket, and the incision is closed with stitches.

After your pacemaker implant you will stay in the hospital overnight. It is normal for the incision to be a bit tender and bruised. You will be given specific instructions regarding care of the incision site. If you notice redness, drainage, severe pain, or swelling, talk to your doctor to see if further evaluation is indicated.

Patient Instructions:

1. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your procedure.

2. Your doctor will inform you which of your medications you should take prior to the procedure, and which medications to avoid before your pacemaker implantation.

3. Please inform your doctor if you have any allergies. If indicated, he or she will prescribe any medications needed to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction.

If you have additional questions about the procedure or instructions, contact your cardiologist.