If the electrical pathway is interrupted for any reason, changes in the heart rate and rhythm occur that make a pacemaker necessary.
Before the procedure begins, a nurse will help you get ready. You will lie on a bed and the nurse will start an IV in a vein in your arm or hand.
To prevent infection and to keep the pacemaker insertion site sterile:
- An antibiotic will be given through the IV at the beginning of the procedure
- The left or right side of your chest will be shaved
- A special soap will be used to cleanse the area
- Sterile drapes are used to cover you from your neck to your feet
- A soft strap will be placed across your waist and arms to prevent your hands from coming in contact with the sterile area
Yes. A medication will be given through your IV to relax you and make you feel drowsy, but you will not be asleep during the procedure.
A pacemaker can be implanted using the endocardial or epicardial approach.
The endocardial (transvenous) approach is the most common method. A local anesthetic is given to numb the area. An incision is made in the chest where the leads and pacemaker are inserted. The lead(s) is inserted through the incision and into a vein, then guided to the heart with the aid of the fluoroscopy machine. The lead tip attaches to the heart muscle, while the other end of the lead (attached to the pulse generator) is placed in a pocket created under the skin in the upper chest.
The epicardial approach is a less common method in adults, but more common in children. During this surgical procedure, general anesthesia is given to put you to sleep. The surgeon attaches the lead tip to the heart muscle, while the other end of the lead (attached to the pulse generator) is placed in a pocket created under the skin in the abdomen.
Although recovery with the epicardial approach is longer than that of the transvenous approach, minimally invasive techniques have enabled shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery times.
The doctor will determine which pacemaker implant method is best for you.
You will feel an initial burning or pinching sensation when the doctor injects the local numbing medication. Soon the area will become numb. You may feel a pulling sensation as the doctor makes a pocket in the tissue under your skin for the pacemaker.
When the leads are being tested, you may feel your heart rate increase or your heart beat faster. Please tell your doctor what symptoms you are feeling. You should not feel pain. If you do, tell your nurse right away.
The pacemaker implant procedure may last around 2 hours.
Yes. You will be admitted to the hospital and stay overnight after the procedure. Usually you will be able to go home the day after your pacemaker was implanted.