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Pacemakers and Internal Defibrillators

Pacemakers and Internal Defibrillators? What’s it all about? We might say nature was clever enough to fit  a pacemaker into our hearts to regulate beating at an optimum rhythm of 60 to 70 beats per minute. A pacemaker is a tiny medical device about the size of half dollar piece that is made of metal. It is placed in the chest or abdomen so electrical pulses delivered from this mechanism may normalize the heartbeat.

A healthy heart will happily pump away at the whim of the natural pacemaker, the Sinoatrial Node (a specialized bundle of neurons) unless some abnormality interferes with the normal rhythm of the beating heart. This is where artificial pacemakers come in as literal life savers for many people today. If your heart is beating too slow or too fast, a pacemaker may be the option to fix the faulty beats by working in the following ways:

  • If the heart beat is marginally slow, then the pacemaker may help to speed it up.
  •  If the heart beat is abnormally fast, then the pacemaker may help to normalize it.
  • Sometimes the heart chambers merely quake a little which results in half a heartbeat, instead of fully contracting.  A pacemaker treats the faulty contractions of the ventricles with the goal to generate a strong stable rhythm.
  • Pacemakers may also help in setting up efficient coordination between the heart chambers to ascertain an unperturbed flow of electric pulses between them.

The Call to Action

The Heart Conditions that may create a call to action for a pacemaker are, as follows.

  • If a person is suffering a form of heart disease, facing heart failure and the heartbeat is out of the proper rhythm;
  •  If the rate of the heart beat is too fast or slow;
  •  If some sort of physical block is causing the rhythm to go out of sync;.
  • If a person has had a medical procedure or is taking medication that has affected the heartbeat; 
  • If a person has a medical condition that influences the heartbeat, such as Long QT Syndrome or Sick Sinus Syndrome;
  • If a person has an aged heart  that requires stabilization of the beat.

How Pacemakers Work

A pacemaker contains a battery powered electronic circuit that acts like a pulse generator computer with lead electrode wires. A pacemaker helps monitor and control your heartbeat. If your heart rhythm is abnormal, the generator will send electrical pulses through the wires to your heart. The pacemaker’s computer records your heart’s electrical activity and heart rhythm. In this way, your doctor may adjust your pacemaker to reach peak performance. The use of pacemakers has increased tremendously in recent years. The technology has assisted in preserving longevity in life for many. When and if your heart is stabilized, the pacemaker may be removed.

Pacemakers today are user-friendly to integrate well into most lifestyle activities. People living in areas with the risk of exposure to magnetic and electric fields may have challenges with their pacemaker. People with pacemakers who exercise should avoid excessive and strenuous exercise. In most cases, people with pacemakers live their lives to the fullest potential without unpleasant hindrances.

Introducing Internal Defibrillators or ICDs

Internal defibrillators or ICDs (Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators) are devices that are designed to deliver electric impulses to the heart when needed. This device automatically senses the absence of a heart beat, also known as cardiac arrhythmia. If this occurs, the Internal defibrillator instantly “shocks” the heart to jolt it back to life. In essence, this device may prevent instant cardiac death by using electric signals. Its installation is similar to that of a pacemaker.

People with an ICD may live normal lives by taking minor precautions like avoiding any pressure on the area where the ICD has been implanted. Psychological side effects, such as anxiety, antisocial behavior or awkwardness may occur if the person with the ICD is not fully supported. This may be managed with support.

Pacemaker or ICD? It’s in the Difference

Pacemakers may be removed if he condition improves in time. Implanted defibrillators are installed to provide a lifelong check on the threatening arrhythmias that may occur silently at any time. ICD’s are advanced and very sensitive to the minute differences in the types of arrhythmias and tachycardia. ICD’s are designed to be a permanent  solution.

These devices are an example of a major advancement in medical excellence.  Still, it is significant to fully understand the benefits, risks, side effects and outcome reports linked to pacemakers and ICD’s before having the procedure. Your physician will review the benefits and risks associated with pacemakers and ICD’s, alternatives to the procedure and much more to help you make a well-educated decision. In the end, these devices have extended normal life for thousands of people around the globe.

It is important to recognize that all medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. All information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition. Your Health Access disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.