Artificial pacemaker: A device that uses electrical impulses to regulate the heart rhythm or reproduce it. An internal pacemaker is one in which the electrodes to the heart, the electronic circuitry, and the power supply are all implanted internally, within the body. Although there are different types of pacemakers, all are designed to treat a heart rate that is too slow (bradycardia). Pacemakers may function continuously and stimulate the heart at a fixed rate, or they may function at an increased rate during exercise. A pacemaker can also be programmed to detect an overly long pause between heartbeats and then stimulate the heart.
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Last Editorial Review: 1/25/2017