Pacemaker - Describe Your Experience

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Do you or a relative have a pacemaker? In what ways has it changed your lifestyle?

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Pacemaker overview

Faulty electrical signaling in the heart causes arrhythmias. Pacemakers use low-energy electrical pulses to overcome this faulty electrical signaling. Pacemakers can:

  • Speed up a slow heart rhythm.
  • Help control an abnormal or fast heart rhythm.
  • Make sure the ventricles contract normally if the atria are quivering instead of beating with a normal rhythm (a condition called atrial fibrillation).
  • Coordinate electrical signaling between the upper and lower chambers of the heart.
  • Coordinate electrical signaling between the ventricles. Pacemakers that do this are called cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) devices. CRT devices are used to treat heart failure.
  • Prevent dangerous arrhythmias caused by a disorder called long QT syndrome.

Pacemakers also can monitor and record your heart's electrical activity and heart rhythm. Newer pacemakers can monitor your blood temperature, breathing rate, and other factors. They also can adjust your heart rate to changes in your activity.

Pacemakers can be temporary or permanent. Temporary pacemakers are used to treat short-term heart problems, such as a slow heartbeat that's caused by a heart attack, heart surgery, or an overdose of medicine.

Temporary pacemakers also are used during emergencies. They might be used until your doctor can implant a permanent pacemaker or until a temporary condition goes away. If you have a temporary pacemaker, you'll stay in a hospital as long as the device is in place.

Permanent pacemakers are used to control long-term heart rhythm problems. This article mainly discusses permanent pacemakers, unless stated otherwise.

Doctors also treat arrhythmias with another device called an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). An ICD is similar to a pacemaker. However, besides using low-energy electrical pulses, an ICD also can use high-energy pulses to treat life-threatening arrhythmias.

Return to Pacemaker

See what others are saying

Comment from: fconzero, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: January 02

Only infrequently have I felt well with the pacemaker but they said, "seven days before you really feel right." I have had some good moments the last two days but evenings are tough. I was told I am seemingly cachectic. I have always been healthy and active but walked today and it made me sore.

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Comment from: Peglyn, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 15

The day that I had my pacemaker placed I felt better than I had in a good while. I was ready to get up and walk around! My doctor said no at that time but as soon as I could I started moving around. It was like having new batteries put in or a good cup of coffee.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

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