Has your cardiologist mentioned the possibility of a pacemaker? These devices can greatly improve heart function and thanks to modern medical device design technology, they are smaller and easier to manage today than just a few years ago. Here are some important things to think about if you are considering this type of procedure.
What is a Pacemaker?
A pacemaker is an electronic device designed to monitor certain heart functions. By monitoring heart beats, it can tell when something is wrong and take corrective action. For example, when an arrhythmia occurs the pacemaker sends electrical impulses to your heart to normalize heartbeat.
Why Use a Pacemaker?
Perhaps you are in need of better heart function. In fact, pacemakers today are helping many people improve quality of life, and they are not just for people with serious and life threatening heart conditions. Some devices help to normalize heart rhythm making it easier to perform daily tasks.
Heart attacks can sometimes cause damage to the heart or your heart’s electrical system. Pacemakers can correct some of these issues and this medical device design can literally make the difference between life and death.
What to Expect
A pacemaker is implanted in the body (upper chest) with a simple surgical procedure. It can be done under a general or local anesthetic. It usually takes an hour and most patients can return home within a 24 hour period.
Beforehand, your doctor may want to take blood tests or x-rays to make sure there will be no problems. During the procedure you are given something to numb the site of the incision. Using special equipment, the cardiologist installs the leads through a vein leading to the heart. This is the usual method. However, it will depend on the needs of the patient. This implant procedure is very common and usually represents low risks.
Life with a Pacemaker
After your pacemaker is installed you will need to make some changes to your lifestyle. Exercising can be resumed but it’s important to protect your implant and not do things which could result in damage.
If you plan to fly, make sure to talk to airport security and they will show what you need to do. Your device may set off an airport alarm but this is easily taken care of.
Before any medical diagnostic procedures, be sure everyone (including the technician) is aware of your implant. Modern medical device design has created very effective and durable heart pacemakers and you should have few problems. If you have any concerns, your cardiologist is the person to talk to.
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