Pacemakers are generally safe
Pacemakers are generally safe; however, there may be few side effects present, which include:
- Infection at the pacemaker’s site
- Swelling, bleeding or bruising at the pacemaker’s site
- A collapsed lung
- Damage to blood vessels or nerves near the pacemakers
- Allergic reaction to dye or anesthesia used during the surgery
There may be a 1% risk of below conditions after placing a pacemaker:
There’s a 5% chance of lead dislodging that may require reoperation. Additionally, there is a risk of damage to the lead.
What is a pacemaker?
A pacemaker is a small device that sends electrical impulses to the heart muscles to maintain a suitable heart rate and rhythm. Pacemakers are used to treat an abnormal heart rate (arrhythmias). A pacemaker may also be used to treat
- Syncope (fainting spells).
- Congestive heart failure.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (acquired hereditary disease of the heart muscles).
Depending on the condition, the doctor might implant one of the following pacemakers:
- Single-chamber pacemaker: It usually carries electrical impulses to the right ventricle of the heart.
- Dual-chamber pacemaker: It carries electrical impulses to the right ventricle and right atrium of the heart to control the timing of the contractions.
- Biventricular pacemaker: It is for people with heart failure with abnormal electrical systems. This type of pacemaker stimulates the lower left and right chamber of the heart.
How does a pacemaker work?
Pacemakers utilize low-energy electrical pulses to treat abnormal electrical signaling. Pacemakers can
- Speed up a slow heart rhythm.
- Prevent dangerous arrhythmias caused due to long QT syndrome.
- Control an abnormal or fast heart rhythm.
- Coordinate electrical signaling between the upper and lower chambers of the heart.
- Coordinate electrical signaling between the ventricles.
- Cure atrial fibrillation (ventricles contract normally if the atria shiver instead of beating normally).
- Monitor and record the heart’s electrical activity and heart rhythm.
The electrical system of the heart controls the heart rate and rhythm. With each heartbeat, an electrical signal is generated, which spreads from the sinoatrial (SA) to AV node to the ventricles, causing the heart to contract and pump blood. An electrical signal originates in the SA node present in the atrium, which then spreads in a preplanned fashion thus coordinating the timing of the heart cell activity. As the electrical signal passes from the atrium, the upper chamber of the heart or atria contracts, thus pumping the blood into the lower chamber or ventricles; the ventricles then contract and push the blood to the rest of the body. The combined contraction of atria and ventricles is a heartbeat.