A pacemaker is a device or system that sends electrical impulses to the heart in order to set the heart rhythm. A pacemaker can be a natural pacemaker of the heart (the sinoatrial node) or it can be an electronic device that serves as an artificial pacemaker. Read more: Pacemaker Article
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Atrial Fibrillation: Heart Symptoms, Diagnosis, & AFib Treatment
AFib symptoms like heart racing, fluttering, and irregular heart beat may be caused by heart disease, obesity, alcohol use,...
Sudden Cardiac Arrest - Test Your Heart Health IQ
Take the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Quiz. Learning about this potentially deadly condition may save a life.
Related Disease Conditions
Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension)
Low blood pressure, also referred to as hypotension, is blood pressure that is so low that it causes symptoms or signs due to the low flow of blood through the arteries and veins. Some of the symptoms of low blood pressure include light-headedness, dizziness, and fainting if not enough blood is getting to the brain. Diseases and medications can also cause low blood pressure. When the flow of blood is too low to deliver enough oxygen and nutrients to vital organs such as the brain, heart, and kidneys; the organs do not function normally and may be permanently damaged.
How the Heart Works: Sides, Chambers, and Function
The heart is a very important organ in the body. It is responsible for continuously pumping oxygen and nutrient-rich blood throughout your body to sustain life. It is a fist-sized muscle that beats (expands and contracts) 100,000 times per day, pumping a total of five or six quarts of blood each minute, or about 2,000 gallons per day.
Dizziness is a symptom that often applies to a variety of sensations including lightheadedness and vertigo. Causes of dizziness include low blood pressure, heart problems, anemia, dehydration, and other medical conditions. Treatment of dizziness depends on the cause.
Fainting, also referred to as blacking out, syncope, or temporary loss of consciousness has many causes. Often a person will have signs or symptoms prior to the fainting episode. Diagnosis and treatment depends upon the cause of the fainting or syncope episode.
Heart disease (coronary artery disease) occurs when plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, the vessels that supply blood to the heart. Heart disease can lead to heart attack. Risk factors for heart disease include: Smoking High blood pressure High cholesterol Diabetes Family history Obesity Angina, shortness of breath, and sweating are just a few symptoms that may indicate a heart attack. Treatment of heart disease involves control of heart disease risk factors through lifestyle changes, medications, and/or stenting or bypass surgery. Heart disease can be prevented by controlling heart disease risk factors.
Fatigue can be described in various ways. Sometimes fatigue is described as feeling a lack of energy and motivation (both mental and physical). The causes of fatigue are generally related to a variety of conditions or diseases, for example, anemia, mono, medications, sleep problems, cancer, anxiety, heart disease, and drug abuse.Treatment of fatigue is generally directed toward the condition or disease that is causing the fatigue.
Heart failure (congestive) is caused by many conditions including coronary artery disease, heart attack, cardiomyopathy, and conditions that overwork the heart. Symptoms of heart failure include congested lungs, fluid and water retention, dizziness, fatigue and weakness, and rapid or irregular heartbeats. There are two types of congestive heart failure, systolic or left-sided heart failure; and diastolic or right-sided heart failure. Treatment, prognosis, and life-expectancy for a person with congestive heart failure depends upon the stage of the disease.
An arrhythmia is an abnormal heart rhythm. With an arrhythmia, the heartbeats may be irregular or too slow (bradycardia), to rapid (tachycardia), or too early. When a single heartbeat occurs earlier than normal, it is called a premature contraction.
Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)
A heart attack happens when a blood clot completely obstructs a coronary artery supplying blood to the heart muscle. A heart attack can cause chest pain, heart failure, and electrical instability of the heart.
Palpitations are uncomfortable sensations of the heart beating hard, rapidly, or irregularly. Some types of palpitations are benign, while others are more serious. Palpitations are diagnosed by taking the patient history and by performing an EKG or heart monitoring along with blood tests. An electrophysiology study may also be performed. Treatment of palpitations may include lifestyle changes, medication, ablation, or implantation of a pacemaker. The prognosis if palpitations depends on the underlying cause.
Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) Treatment Drugs
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a heart rhythm disorder that causes irregular and often rapid heartbeat. The medications to treat AFib include beta-blockers, blood thinners, and heart rhythm drugs. Atrial fibrillation drugs can cause serious side effects like seizures, vision changes, shortness of breath, fainting, other abnormal heart rhythms, excessive bleeding while coughing or vomiting, blood in the stool, and bleeding into the brain.
Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)
Atrial fibrillation (AF or AFib) is an abnormality in the heart rhythm, which involves irregular and often rapid beating of the heart. Symptoms may include heart palpitations, dizziness, fainting, fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Atrial fibrillation treatment may include medication or procedures like cardioversion or ablation to normalize the heart rate.
Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disorders)
Heart rhythm disorders vary from minor palpitations, premature atrial contractions (PACs), premature ventricular contractions (PVCs), sinus tachycardia, and sinus bradycardia, to abnormal heart rhythms such as tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, ventricular flutter, atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT), Wolf-Parkinson-White syndrome, brachycardia, or heart blocks. Treatment is dependent upon the type of heart rhythm disorder.
Atrial Fibrillation vs. Ventricular Fibrillation (AFib vs VFib Symptoms, ECG Strips)
Atrial fibrillation (AF or AFib) is an abnormality in the heart rhythm which involves irregular and often rapid beating of the heart. Symptoms may include heart palpitations, dizziness, fainting, fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Atrial fibrillation treatment may include medication or procedures like cardioversion or ablation to normalize the heart rate. Atrial fibrillation (AFib) and ventricular fibrillation (VFib) are problems with the heart that cause abnormal heart rhythms. Causes of these heart conditions include, heart disease, drugs and medications, excessive alcohol consumption, high cholesterol, advancing age, a diet that contains high levels of animal meat (fat), high blood pressure, stress, stimulants like caffeine, nicotine. Ventricular fibrillation is the more serious of the conditions because if it isn't treated immediately the person will likely die. Symptoms of AFib are confusion, anxiety, fatigue, a fluttering in the chest, and the feeling that you may pass out or faint. Atrial fibrillation is treated with medications, cardioversion therapy, and surgery. If a person with ventricular fibrillation does not seek medical help immediately they will mostly likely suffer from sudden cardiac arrest or sudden death.
Echocardiogram is a test using ultrasound to provide pictures of the heart's valves and chambers. There are several types of echocardiograms: transthoracic echocardiogram, transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE), stress echocardiogram, dobutamine or adenosine/sestamibi stress echocardiogram, and intravascular ultrasound.
Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia (PSVT)
Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT) is an abnormal conduction of electricity in particular areas of the heart. PSVT was referred to at one time as paroxysmal atrial tachycardia or PAT, however, the term PAT is reserved for as specific heart condition. Symptoms of PSVT include weakness, shortness of breath, chest pressure, lightheadedness, and palpitations. PSVT is treated with medications or procedures that return the heart to its normal electrical pattern.
Superior Vena Cava Syndrome
Superior vena cava syndrome is compression of the superior vena cava vein located in the upper chest. Causes of superior vena cava include lung cancer, lymphoma, other cancers in the chest, blood clots in the superior vena cava, or infection. Symptoms of the syndrome include shortness of breath. Superior vena cava syndrome is diagnosed by ultrasound, chest X-ray, CT scan, and in some cases biopsy. Treatment depends upon the cause of the syndrome.
Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a condition where the heart's ability to pump blood is decreased because the heart's main pumping chamber is enlarged and weakened. Symptoms of dilated cardiomyopathy include chest pain, heart failure, swelling of the lower extremities, fatigue, weight gain, fainting, palpitations, dizziness and blood clots.
Ventricular Septal Defect
A ventricular septal defect (VSD) is a congenital heart malformation. A VSD is a hole in the wall of the heart's two lower chambers. Approximately one in 500 infants will be born with a VSD. Treatment depends upon whether the VSD is small or large in size.
Regular physical activity can reduce the risk of disease. Regular exercise can also reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety. There are fitness programs that fit any age or lifestyle.
Local ResourcesFind a local Cardiologist in your town
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
- Echocardiogram (Echocardiography, Diagnostic Cardiac Ultrasound)
- Ablation Therapy for Arrhythmias
- Biventricular Pacemaker
- Coronary Heart Disease Screening Tests (CAD)
- Implantable Cardiac Defibrillators
- How Is Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Done?
- Heart Lead Extraction
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
- AHA News: Why Did Yankees Manager Get a Pacemaker, and How Does It Work?
- Could Your E-Cig Disrupt Your Pacemaker?
- 1 in 5 Heart Pacemaker Patients Prescribed Opioids After Surgery
- Pacemakers, Insulin Pumps Could Be Hacking Targets: FDA
- Radiation Rx Might Ease a Dangerous Irregular Heart Beat
- Deep Brain 'Zap' Restores Vivid Memories to Alzheimer's Patients
- AHA News: Chemical Widely Used in Medical Plastic Alters Heart Function in Lab Tests
- 'Antibiotic Envelopes' Could Cut Infections After Pacemaker Implant
- Expandable Heart Valves Could Mean Fewer Heart Surgeries
- Coming Soon: Battery-Free Pacemakers Powered by the Heart?
- Security Scanners Safe for Patients With Heart Devices: Study
- Kidney Disease May Boost Risk of Abnormal Heartbeat
- Smartphone Device Detects Undiagnosed Irregular Heartbeat
- Sleep Apnea May Raise Heart Risks in People With Pacemakers
- Antibiotic Resistance Could Threaten Surgery, Chemo Patients
- Wireless Pacemaker Shows Promise in Early Trial
- Can Smartphones Interfere With Pacemakers?
- Improved Artificial Heart Valve Approved
- World's Tiniest Pacemaker Seems Safe, Effective in Trial
- FDA Expands Approval for 'Valve in Valve' Aortic Replacement
- Effectiveness of Implanted Defibrillators May Depend on Patient's Age
- 'Wireless' Pacemaker Working Well So Far, Researchers Say
- New Prosthetic Hands Restore Sense of Touch to Amputees
- Pacemakers Common for Those With Dementia and Irregular Heartbeats
- Scientists Use Gene Therapy to Create 'Biological Pacemaker' in Pig Hearts
- Implanted Defibrillators May Help Patients With Moderate Heart Failure
- Tiny Wireless Pacemaker Shows Early Promise
- Implanted Devices Might Someday Run on Energy From Nearby Organs
- A-Fib Doesn't Mean You're Banished to the Sidelines
- Chest Implant Might Help With Hard-to-Treat Sleep Apnea
- First Device to Treat Migraine With Aura Approved
- FDA Approves New Magnet Device to Treat Migraines
- 'Smart' Pacemakers May Protect Heart From Further Damage
- Hospitalization Rates Soar for Irregular Heartbeat, Study Finds
- Health Tip: Will a Pacemaker Help Me?
- New Method Cuts Radiation During Pacemaker Procedure: Study
- New Defibrillator Works Without Wires Touching Heart
- Study IDs Best Heart Failure Patients for Pacemakers
- Costlier Heart Device May Not Be Worth It, Study Suggests
- Wireless Pacemaker Shows Promise in Early Study
- Programming Implanted Defibrillators to React More Slowly Might Be Safer: Study
- Health Tip: Don't Ignore Pacemaker Issues
- Researchers Test Implanted Brain Stimulator for Alzheimer's
- Fainting in Healthy People May Be First Sign of Heart Trouble
- Programming Change in Defibrillator Implants May Lower Death Risk: Study
- Women Don't Fare as Well as Men With Implanted Defibrillators: Study
- Device Offers Hope for Battery-Free Pacemakers
- Stimulation Device for Esophagus Might Ease GERD Symptoms
- What Drives Your Daily Biological Clock?
- New Defibrillator Implanted Just Under the Skin
- Health Tip: Living With a Pacemaker
- Device Calms Parkinson's Tremor for 3+ Years
- Black Africans Less Apt to Develop Heart Rhythm Disorder Than Whites
- Having a 'Purpose in Life' May Help Shield You From Dementia
- Less Invasive Heart Valve Replacement Works for Elderly: Study
- Pacemakers, Defibrillators Sources of Deadly Infections: Study
- Defibrillator Implantation May Be Riskier for Underweight Patients
- Family Tree May Aid Treatment of Inherited Heart Disorders
- Even When Silent, Irregular Heartbeat Linked to Stroke Risk
- Donated Pacemakers From U.S. Safely Reused in India: Study
- Health Highlights: Dec. 13, 2011
- Handheld Metal Detectors Don't Seem to Affect Pacemakers: Study
- Blood Test May Help Spot Stroke
- Heart Devices Like Pacemakers Linked to Infections
- Electronic Nose Sniffs Out Heart Failure
- Underused Treatments Could Save Lives From Heart Failure
- Spine Injury Breakthrough: Paralyzed Man Stands, Moves