Pacemaker Implantation

Overview

A pacemaker is a small devices with two parts, a generator and wires (electrodes). A pacemakers is placed under the skin in your chest to help control your heartbeat.

Pacemakers can be implanted temporarily to treat a slow heartbeat after a heart attack, surgery, or overdose of medication. They can also be implanted permanently to correct a slow heartbeat or to treat heart failure.

What to Expect

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DURING THE PROCEDURE

During the pacemaker implant surgery, your cardiologist will numb the incision area so that you do not feel pain or discomfort during the procedure. He or she may also give you antibiotics prior to the surgery to ward off potential infections. You are usually awake during the procedure.

Your cardiologist will then insert a small needle into a large vein near your shoulder and will use that needle to thread the pacemaker implant wires into your veins towards your heart. A technician will take an x-ray of the wires to make sure they are correctly placed. Once the wires are in place, your cardiologist will make a small incision in your abdomen or chest. He or she will then insert the pacemaker implant (a small metal box) through the incision, directly under your skin. Next, your cardiologist will connect the pacemaker wires that lead to your heart.

AFTER THE PROCEDURE

You’ll usually stay in the hospital for one day after having a pacemaker implanted. Before you leave, your pacemaker is programmed to fit your particular pacing needs. A return visit is often scheduled to make sure your pacemaker settings are correct.

FAQs

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How long does this surgery typically take?

It typically take approximately two to three hours to complete the pacemaker implant surgery.

Are there any risks associated with the surgery?

Complications from having a pacemaker implanted are uncommon, but could include:
- infection where the pacemaker was implanted
- allergic reaction to the dye or anesthesia used during your procedure
- damage to your blood vessels or nerves near the pacemaker
- collapsed lung.
You could also experience swelling, bruising, or bleeding at the generator site.