Pacemakers For Bradycardia
Understanding how Pacemakers Restore the Heart’s Rhythm
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 the 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 is 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.
A LEADLESS PACEMAKER OPTION
Unlike many standard pacemakers, some newer ‘micro’ pacemakers are 90% smaller and is implanted into the heart through a vein in your leg and does not require a lead. It is the size of a large vitamin capsule and has a battery that typically lasts between 8 and 13 years. The small device’s miniaturized size and minimally invasive approach leaves no visible sign of a medical device under the skin. This can mean fewer post-implant activity restrictions and no obstructions to shoulder movement.
These types of devices are intended for patients with specific pacing needs. Talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of such devices.
A SMARTPHONE-CONNECTED PACEMAKER
Some pacemakers communicate directly and securely with a mobile app on your mobile device. The mobile app allows you to stay connected to your clinic, providing peace of mind and freedom, so you can continue living your life — uninterrupted.
- Continue with your daily life — wherever you go — knowing your pacemaker can connect to your clinic through your mobile device and the mobile app.
Peace of mind
- Feel confident that your clinic receives your pacemaker data because you can see the status of your transmissions in the app.
- Access information about your pacemaker — including battery life, implant date, pacemaker name, model number, serial number, and clinic information — so you are comfortable answering questions when asked.
- Motivate yourself to engage in healthy behaviors
- Track your physical activity level with data the app gets from your pacemaker.
- Record your weight, blood pressure, and heart rate — and track these measurements over time to help you better understand your health status.
- Keep a record of your symptoms to share with your doctor at an in-office visit.
- Easily access answers to frequently asked questions about living with a pacemaker.
Advanced pacemakers will maintain their safety and dependability for many years, as they have very long battery life. Some pacemakers also have features proven to accurately detect and significantly reduce your risk of developing persistent atrial fibrillation (AF) associated with an increased risk of stroke.
Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.