MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at:
Pacemaker ImplantAn artificial pacemaker is a small, battery-operated device that can be permanently placed inside you or attached externally for temporary use. The pacemaker takes over for your heart's natural pacemaker to maintain a stable heart rate. Electrical impulses from the pacemaker are sent through leads (wires) that are placed into the heart wall to keep your heart beating and pumping. Pacemakers typically are used for slow heartbeats. The pacemaker senses the heart’s electrical activity (rhythm) and sends out an impulse to correct an irregular, slow heartbeat.
How a Pacemaker Is ImplantedImplanting a pacemaker is usually performed during a minimally invasive surgical procedure in a cardiovascular catheterization laboratory. A local anesthesia is used to numb the treatment area. An IV (intravenous line) into your arm or hand will provide you with medication to make the procedure as comfortable as possible.
The pacemaker is inserted into the chest, through a small incision which forms a pocket to hold the device in place. From a small incision under the collarbone, the leads are guided into a large vein that connects to the heart; this process is aided by viewing X-ray images on a fluoroscopy machine. One end of the lead is attached to the heart wall while the other end of the lead is attached to the pacemaker.
Some pacemaker implantations are performed as open-heart surgery under general anesthesia.
We also provide surgical services to extract pacemakers and leads of infected or malfunctioning devices.