How does a pacemaker work?
A pacemaker system comprises an intracardiac lead connected to a pulse generator (battery and electronics). The system monitors the heart rate and rhythm. If the heart rate becomes too slow or if
there are long pauses between heart beats, the pacemaker system “senses” this and delivers electrical impulses to the heart stimulating heart beats. Cardiac output (and therefore cerebral blood pressure), is maintained, thereby preventing fainting episodes and allowing the patient to enjoy a normal quality of life.
How is a pacemaker placed?
Only two small skin incision at the neck are required. A pacemaker lead is then inserted via the jugular vein to the heart. This is connected to the pulse generator, which is positioned in the neck.
Are there any restrictions to the patient following pacemaker implantation?
Following pacemaker implantation, most patients live a normal quality of life. Restricted exercise is only required during the first
few weeks after surgery, to minimize risk of lead dislodgement.
At SCVS we use active leads, which allows for more secure lead placement, thereby reducing time needs for exercise restriction and the risk of lead dislodgement.
What 'maintenance' does a pacemaker require?
At SCVS we re-examine our pacemaker patients initially at 1, 3 and 6 months post-surgery. If no problems are detected, then pacemaker patients need only be reassessed once a year.