Do you want to know what a pacemaker is? Maybe you know someone who just went through an operation and a pacemaker was placed in his heart to help him in his condition. Or it can also be that you need a pacemaker yourself, and you are reading this because you want to know more. Or it can also be that someone close to you has a pacemaker and you want to understand more what a pacemaker is and everything that goes with it. Hopefully this article will help you know more about this thing called pacemaker.
What Is A Pacemaker?
A pacemaker is a very small apparatus that is used to regulate the rate of the heart beat. This very small gadget works by sending electrical impulses to the muscle of the heart in order to help maintain proper heart rate and rhythm.
Why the Need for a Pacemaker?
A normal or healthy heart has its own pacemaker. As a person lives, the healthy heart works 24/7, following its regular rhythm and beat, and it never stops. However, there are people who have certain medical conditions that necessitate the use of a pacemaker. For example, some hearts do not beat regularly and unless an intervention is done, the person ultimately dies.
Medical Conditions Which Can Be Helped with A Pacemaker
Pacemakers are also used to treat the following medical conditions: Bradyarrythmias or slow heart rhythms which occur from disease in the heart’s electrical conduction system; Syncope or fainting spells; congestive heart failure; and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
How Is A Pacemaker Used?
A doctor, normally a heart surgeon or specialist handles this minor surgical procedure where the pacemaker is implanted under the skin of the chest. The surgery is done in an operating room.
A pacemaker has two parts: the pulse generator and the leads. During the minor surgery, the doctor threads the lead wires through the veins into the heart and implants them into the heart muscle. These lead wires will then work by sending impulses from the pulse generator to the heart muscle. These lead wires will also work by sensing the heart’s electrical activity. The pulse generator is where the battery and a tiny computer is located, and the doctor will place this just under the skin of the chest.
So what happens next when the pacemaker is already implanted? Each impulse emitted by the pulse generator causes the heart to contract. This ensures that the heart will continue to beat normally, following a normal rhythm. Normal heart rate for a healthy person is 60 beats per minute, and the doctor programs the minimum heart rate for the patient using the pacemaker. When the heart rate, for some reason, drops below the set rate, the pacemaker generates an electrical impulse that passes through the lead towards the heart muscle. This then causes the heart muscle to contract, instantly creating a heartbeat. This is the wonder of a pacemaker.