Permanent pacemaker implantation (PPI)
WHAT IS A PACEMAKER?
If you have a condition called bradycardia, otherwise known as a slow heartbeat, you and your doctor may decide an implantable heart device called a pacemaker is the right option for you. A pacemaker helps restore the heart’s rhythm, by sending tiny electrical signals to the heart to increase the heart rate, which relieves the symptoms of bradycardia.
When people refer to a pacemaker, they are actually discussing a pacing system, which includes the pacemaker and leads.
✓ A pacemaker is a small device that is implanted under the skin, most often below the collarbone on the left or right side of your chest. The pacemaker continuously monitors your heart, and if it detects a slow heart rate, it sends out small, undetectable electrical signals to correct it.
✓ Leads are thin, soft, insulated wires about the size of spaghetti noodles. The leads carry the electrical impulse from the pacemaker to your heart and relay information about the heart’s natural activity back to your pacemaker.
HOW DOES A PACEMAKER WORK?
A pacemaker is designed to mimic the heart’s natural pacemaker, the sinus node. The pacemaker has two main purposes: pacing and sensing.
A pacemaker will send an electrical impulse to the heart when the heart’s own rhythm is too slow or interrupted. This electrical impulse starts a heartbeat.
A pacemaker will also “sense” (monitor) the heart’s natural electrical activity. When the pacemaker senses a natural heartbeat, it will not deliver a pacing pulse.
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