A pacemaker is a medical device that uses electrical impulses, delivered by electrodes contracting the heart muscles, to regulate the beating of the heart. The primary purpose of a pacemaker is to maintain an adequate heart rate, either because the heart’s natural pacemaker is not fast enough, or there is a block in the heart’s electrical conduction system. Modern pacemakers are externally programmable and allow thecardiologist to select the optimum pacing modes for individual patients. A defibrillator is a device which has the same features as a pacemaker but also shocks the heart back into rhythm when patients have ventricular fibrillation. This can be indicated in people with weak heart muscles who meet certain criteria.
Permanent pacemaker insertion is considered a minimally invasive procedure. Insertion is usually performed transvenously. The pacing generator is typically placed subcutaneously in the infraclavicular region.
At South Charleston Cardiology we have a pacemaker and defibrillator clinic where the device is monitored as per the manufacturers recommendations.